April 21 2015

Jesus Reyes used to be a problem kid who once ditched school for three weeks. Now he’s a model student.

The 15-year-old participated in an innovative program in Santa Ana called Joven Noble. It uses principles of restorative justice to help young people who might normally face severe punishment find the wherewithal to achieve.

Needless to say, Reyes—and his mom—are fans of the program, which was conceived of by Santa Ana Boys and Men of Color, a project of The California Endowment.

The OC Register ran a profile of Reyes and the Joven Noble:

Here in Santa Ana, coordinators are hoping to reach Latino youth by instilling a “rites of passage” curriculum, or Joven Noble, that challenges the myth that manhood is defined by physical dominance and sex. Manhood, the practice says, is about honor, generosity and respect.

For Reyes, expressing his feelings proved a struggle. He said he rebelled after his older brother died. He would bottle up his feelings and resort to “punching something and making a hole in the wall.”

After learning about Joven Noble, his outlook is different.

Reyes now believes that real men respect women, and they’re responsible. They let out their emotions. “They actually get emotional,” he said.

Read the full article here.

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