A COMMUNITY centre in Bayswater North is taking a proactive approach to shaping the minds of young boys in Maroondah.
The Glen Park Community Centre will hold its first Building Tomorrow's Men session after the school holidays. It will provide a program similar to the popular Men's Shed — but aimed at boys aged 11 to 14.
Centre director Heidi Butler said the idea — which will be the first of its kind in Maroondah — came to her after a query from a mother.
"She asked if her son could go along to the Men's Shed but he was too young. So I applied for a community grant to start this program."
Building Tomorrow's Men has been developed largely for boys who come from single-parent families and are displaying some anti-social behaviour.
They usually lack a father figure in their life, so the program provides good male role models to teach the boys new skills.
Ms Butler said the program would be very similar to the existing Men's Sheds and the youngsters would make toys each week for a local not-for-profit kindergarten.
"They're learning new skills and it gives them a sense of achievement," she said.
All the sessions would be hands-on with no formal talks or lessons, said Ms Butler. Instead the boys will talk while they are working and having a meal.
"They're going through that transition age, moving from grade 6 to year 7, and struggling with their identity.
"We teach them not to fear the police. We have a Victoria Police representative there every week as a presence for the boys."
The program aims to show the boys what impact their actions can have on the community — both positive and negative — and get them involved in a rewarding way. There are still a few places left and boys can join throughout the term if spots are still available.
To find out more or to enrol, call the centre on 9294 7525.