Becoming A Man (BAM)
CSFA Number: 444-80-2188
Agency Name
Department Of Human Services (444)
Agency Identification
Agency Contact
Karrie Rueter
Short Description
BAM (Becoming A Man) is a school-based counseling programs that develops the social-emotional competencies of students in grades 7-12, helping to ensure that young men are successful socially, emotionally, and academically- and that they’re prepared for life after high school. Providers will implement the BAM (Becoming A Man) program model with fidelity in multiple Chicago Area schools targeting at-risk youth in grades 7-12.
Subject Area
Human Services
Program Function
Objectives and Goals
Program Goals
Young men who participate in BAM will achieve the following goals:
Goal 1: BAM students will increase their social-emotional well-being and resiliency.
Goal 2: BAM participants will improve school engagement and academic attainment.
Goal 3: BAM participants will increase their utilization of safe and healthy behaviors.
Goal 4: The BAM program will be delivered with fidelity in each school served.

Types of Assistance
Project Grants
Uses and Restrictions
The Program Model
BAM integrates clinical theory and practice, men’s rites of passage work, and a dynamic approach to youth engagement and development. The program is grounded in research showing that a large share of Chicago youth homicides stem from impulsive behavior- young people massively over-reacting to some aspect of their social environment. This is consistent with a growing body of research showing that social cognitive skills, such as impulse control, future orientation, and conflict resolution, are predictive of a wide range of key life outcomes. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a clinical approach leveraged by BAM counselors to help students become aware of maladaptive or destructive patterns of thinking. By building students’ awareness of how thoughts impact their emotions and behaviors, counselors guide participants in regulating emotions, identifying cognitive distortions, and becoming deliberate thinkers and problem solvers. Young men who participate in BAM are more likely to stay in school, develop healthy relationships, and stay out of the juvenile justice system.

BAM is primarily delivered through weekly group counseling sessions (BAM Circles). Each BAM Circle includes a cohort of 10-15 young men to leverage the power of peer influence and promote positive bonds. Sessions are guided by a BAM or BAM Advanced Curriculum that build upon BAM’s six core values: Integrity, Accountability, Self-Determination, Positive Anger Expression, Respect for Womanhood, and Visionary Goal Setting. Lesson plans utilize stories, role plays and group missions to develop specific social-emotional competencies correlated with reductions in violent and other high-risk behaviors.

The program’s model follows a 30-lesson curriculum that guides participants as they learn, practice, and internalize six core values: Integrity, Accountability, Self-Determination, Positive Anger Expression, Respect for Womanhood, and Visionary Goal Setting. Each BAM lesson is delivered by BAM Counselors in weekly Circles of up to 15 students each. Lessons include a clear learning objective achieved through structured activities that include a check in, stating of group mission, facilitated discussion, skills-building activities, and homework that reinforces skills beyond the group. BAM also incorporates individual services, field trips, and special events to reinforce competencies beyond the Circle. Brief encounters (hallway check-ins, phone calls) enable BAM Counselors to monitor participant progress and hold them accountable to skills or goals expressed in group. These encounters also lead to more intensive support, including individual counseling, meetings with parents or teachers, and referring participants and families to wraparound services. Field trips incorporated into the curriculum include college tours and cultural events that expose youth to new opportunities and enable them to practice skills in a supportive setting.
Eligibility Requirements
Grantee Named in State Budget.
Program Participant eligibility: To allow for flexibility and encourage school administrators and other stakeholders to refer students who they feel would benefit from the program, The BAM program model does not have strict eligibility criteria; rather BAM targets young men who demonstrate characteristics correlated to increased dropout or violent behavior, including living in impoverished and/or violent communities, being old for grade, behind academically, truant from school, or involved with the justice or school discipline systems.

Absences, poor academic performance, bullying (victim or perpetrator) fighting, issues at home, abuse/neglect, emotional challenges, and poor peer relationships, low school attendance, low grades, risk of drop out, and prior disciplinary actions are examples for which a student may be referred to BAM.

Students must be enrolled in school full-time and complete the required consents and permissions to participate in the program.
Eligible Applicants
Federal Funding
Notice of Funding Opportunities
Agency IDGrantee NameStart DateEnd DateAmount
FCSYP05378-FCSYP05378YOUTH GUIDANCE07/01/201906/30/20201,000,000