Compass Program Teaches Mentors to Lead Young Men in Communication and Respect

tagadan.jpgGene Tagadan. Via

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

An upcoming program through the Kodiak Area Native Association aims to teach youth leaders how to guide young men in communication, conflict resolution, and respect.

The workshop, called Compass, will take place from August 17 to 19 and the sign-up deadline is July 17. The Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault designed the program and Gene Tagadan, a public speaker and storyteller with Alaska Native heritage who is based in the lower 48, will lead the workshop

Tagadan notes that Alaska is the state with the highest rate of domestic violence against women and explains Compass is in part an attempt to correct that by setting an example.

“It’s about men and developing men as mentors in the community,” says Tagadan. “And many of the men are already doing this work already, but they maybe just need some guidance. Some of the topics that are in the Compass program and that I will be covering in the training is knowing who you are, knowing your emotions, respect for self, respect for others.”

He says Compass also addresses identity.

“We talk about healthy masculinity, healthy relationships, what it means to be a man, what it means to be a leader. And even the masculinity and the stereotypes that society puts on us as men. How are we supposed to act? Those stereotypes are almost pretty much impossible to live by.”
Tagadan says storytelling is one of the tools he provides to the leaders who want to better communicate with the young men they mentor.

“It’s not about standing there and giving them a lecture,” he says. “I mean, sure, there’s certainly times when you have to put your foot down and say ‘This is wrong, this is the wrong way to act,’ but when you’re sitting with somebody, a wonderful way to teach and teach a lesson is through telling a story. Maybe you had a story of how you dealt with conflict resolution.”
Tagadan says he and the mentors will go through the Compass handbook, learn through activities, and practice presenting to groups. He will also provide coaching and feedback.

For more information and to request an application, call KANA at 486 – 9847.

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