Carlos Andrés Gómez, an award-winning writer and performer, has selected Big Brothers Big Sisters as the call-to-action national non-profit for those who seek solutions after reading his new book, Man Up: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood (Gotham Books).
Gómez, a former social worker in Harlem and the south Bronx and public school teacher in Philadelphia and Manhattan, wrote the self-revealing book as part of his quest to build a movement to redefine masculinity for the twenty-first century male. A poet and speaker, Gómez will support the nationwide non-profit mentoring network with appearances at fundraisers and male mentor recruiting events, where he will direct readers looking for resources and solutions to Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“Today’s young men lack positive role models. There is a void of men to look up to: absentee fathers, incarceration, deployment, violence, and early death because of environmental and social conditions that lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even suicide, Gómez said. “It is tough to know where to turn.”
More than two-thirds of the youth served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are children of color. They are children of single-parent, low-income or military families or households where a parent is incarcerated. “Littles” waiting to be matched with “Bigs” are disproportionately African American and Hispanic boys. Independent studies find once matched with a Big are more likely than their peers from similar circumstances to improve in school, their behavior and their self-esteem.
As a Latino man, Gómez understands from first-hand experience the hyper-masculine and emotionally limiting roles that men are taught to play to look manly, tough and capable. Through a candid look at his own past, Gómez distills lessons that he picked up along his adventures in life, mistakes he has made, and changes he hopes he can make, and asks men of all races and backgrounds to rethink and redefine the key ingredients that comprise a man’s fundamental sense of integrity and honor code.
“If I accomplish what I strive to do with this book, I will give some men the license, for the first time, to be everything they wanted to be. Not what they felt like they should be, or ought to be, or have to be, but everything they are, Gómez said. “They will be able to open themselves to the possibility of living outside the all-too-familiar, clichéd script they’ve been handed. MAN UP will give them the permission to unlock all of that magic the world made them hide.”
MAN UP provides a different model of manhood, redefining what it means to tell a guy to “man up!” As opposed to now, where the term too often is used to devalue sensitivity and discourage emotion or to promote aggression and unhealthy behavior, Gómez would like to reclaim this phrase to be used to encourage communication, empathy, and taking responsibility. Through his work as a teacher, social worker, camp counselor for kids effected by HIV/AIDS, and world traveler, Gómez exhibits that there are other ways for men to interact, express their feelings and emotions, and, ultimately, be better men.
About the Author
CARLOS ANDRÉS GÓMEZ is an award-winning writer and performer from New York City. A former social worker in Harlem and the south Bronx and public school teacher in Philadelphia and Manhattan, Gómez has performed at more than 200 colleges and universities and toured across North America, Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and named Artist of the Year at the 2009 Promoting Outstanding Writers Awards, he co-starred in Spike Lee’s #1 movie “Inside Man” with Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen and appeared on the sixth season of HBO’s “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.”
About Gotham Books
Gotham Books, a nonfiction imprint of Penguin Group (USA), was launched in 2003 by industry veteran William Shinker. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is one of the leading U.S. adult and children’s trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Gotham Books, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, Penguin, Penguin Press, Philomel, Riverhead Books, and Viking, among others. Penguin Group is owned by Pearson plc, the international media group.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success; avoidance of risky behaviors; and higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course. The first-ever Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Summary, released in 2012, substantiates that its mentoring programs have proven, positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth, areas linked to high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency and college or job readiness.
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, often those of single or low-income households or families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 100-year history. With about 350 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 630,000 children, volunteers and families. Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer at BigBrothersBigSisters.org.