Fall River School Aims to Reverse ‘Societal Masculinity Crisis’
The "absence of dads" has created "identity confusion" for many young men in society, something Father Jay Mello is attempting to address.
Father Mello is the pastor of St. Michael's Parish and School in Fall River.
"We have a social crisis in manhood" in that "many boys are growing up without a father to show them what it is like to be a man," he said.
The private Catholic School on Essex Street provides "quality education" to children from preschool (age three) through eighth grade.
The school's website says, "We are committed to providing the foundation for lifelong learning, skills for critical thinking and problem-solving."
To Father Mello, that means teaching the virtues of "honesty, integrity, and respect."
St. Michael's School launched a new after-school program in March, one of many offered to students. The Young Men's Club, run by principal Ryan Klein and custodian Michael Lubold, seeks to teach the boys "traditional masculine roles" by teaching them basic skills such as changing a tire and making household repairs.
The Catholic News Agency highlighted the program in an April 11, 2023, article by Joe Bukuras.
Father Mello, who appeared on my radio show to elaborate on the program, said the Young Men's Club teaches the boys confidence and how to "make a good first impression by offering a firm handshake, look presentable in a dress coat, and make eye contact" when meeting someone.
Father Mello says the COVID lockdown resulted in the isolation of many young people, which had a "huge impact" on them.
"Education is not just sharing information _ it's about interacting, forming a person, forming a character," he said.
Father Mello said many youngsters "lost out on some of those social skills."
Father Mello believes social media and the general media have had a "negative" impact on society. He urges that parents dissatisfied with the education offered to their children should "take it more seriously" and vote and even consider running for public office.
Asked where the idea for the program originated, Father Mello answered, "From Jesus."