On Saturday, December 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Man Up Club is partnering with Community Partnership Collaborative 2.0 (http://cpcmn.org) for an anti-bullying symposium at 1018 N. 5th St. in Minneapolis. The event is for boys who have been the victim of bullying or would like to learn to support those who have. It will include discussions about the harmful effects of bullying and ways to prevent it.
Participants will also have an opportunity to create social media content on Instagram or TikTok with an anti-bullying message, which The Man Up Club will publish on their website. “Every person who participates in the symposium receives $20,” says Korey Dean, founder and executive director of The Man Up Club.
The club began in 2012 at North St. Paul High School as an afterschool program. It grew out of Dean’s experience at the school as a student advocate for African Americans. “[I] recognized that African American males faced the most challenges within the school system and wanted to help with some of those problems and issues that they were having with administration—graduation rates and in-school and out-of-school suspensions.”
The Man Up Club’s main programs are tutoring, one-on-one mentoring, and group mentoring. At North St. Paul High School, their efforts were successful in increasing graduation rates and decreasing suspensions. In 2015, the program became a nonprofit organization so that Dean could partner with other nonprofits, local businesses, churches, and other schools. They have different chapters around the Twin Cities.
The Man Up Club serves ages 13-24 and focuses on life skills, social skills, academic discipline, and civil responsibility.
“We have three main goals within our Man Up Club organization,” Dean explains, “which is to get young men to graduate from high school, to keep them out of the prison pipeline, and to get them to go on to college or have a trade after high school.” They also take members on field trips and help with career exploration and job readiness. “We bring in different speakers from different professions to talk with the young men.”
Participants in their summer programs cut lawns for community members that are free to the elderly and those with limited abilities. Their gardening program teaches youth how to grow food organically. They also provide a once-a-month program called Permission to Grieve.
“Young men can come in who have been suffering from or dealing with grief. We have professionals that will come in and talk with them and counsel them.”
A recently acquired building in the North Loop area of Minneapolis offers the opportunity to expand programming. “We have a rec center that has pool tables, ping pong tables, air hockey, Xboxes, and PlayStations, anything to keep a young man doing something constructive,” Dean says.
This facility has space to provide a culinary arts program, a fitness center, and a music program that includes music production, music business, and songwriting. “We also have a program called Youth Build, which is a construction training program, and it’s actually for males and females between the ages of 16 and 24.”
Those who would like to become members of The Man Up Club can either go to their social media page, call, or come into the new facility. “They can get recommended in by anybody,” Dean says. “They come in, fill out an application [and] go through the orientation.”
Dean also welcomes community support: “We are always looking for volunteers and partners,” he says. “Looking for volunteers to come in and help the young men cook or tutor the young men or be a chaperone.”
They also welcome donors who would like to make financial contributions to their cause. Through their Suit Up program, the community can donate slightly used or new suits.
On December 23, besides learning about anti-bullying tactics, The Man Up Club will be giving back to the community. “We are doing a toy drive, called Christmas with Scooter, which is a Santa Claus that we have, or Scooter Claus. We will be taking family photos and giving out treats and gifts,” says Dean.
“It will be a day of fun activities and passing out gifts to kids, but at the same time allowing kids to make some money and put out that anti-bullying message,” he continues. “Any kid that is in the 4th grade to the 12th grade, if they participate in the anti-bullying symposium, they automatically get $20.”
For more information on The Man Up Club, go to www.themanupclub.org, or call 612-584-3125. They are located at 1018 N. 5th St., Minneapolis, MN 55411.