Man Of The Week – Jermal Alleyne

Jermal Alleyne is our newest Man Of The Week and boy does he have one hell of a story! Today he is the Co-founder of a non-profit called Next Gen Men that is dedicated to building better men through youth engagement, education, and empowerment. Like many in his generation, Jermal never had a mentor or group of friends as a young boy where he could be taught about the expectations and responsibilities of being a ‘man’. It was this struggle and losing his teenage brother to suicide that drives Jermal’s passion for impacting and equipping today’s youth. Jermal opens up and gets real personal in this weeks Man Of The Week, you’ll definitely want to check out his humbling story.

Jermal, along with three others, will be speaking about ‘Confidence’ at the upcoming ManTalks Toronto event on Monday, August 22nd. You can expect to hear moving stories from individuals who suffered from low self-esteem and the manner in which they tackled this head on to emerge victorious and successful.
Topic: Confidence & Connection
Date: Monday, August 22 6:30pm (Doors open) 7:00pm (Event begins)
Location: 174 Front St West, Toronto ON M5V 3K2
Tickets: FREEIMG_20151118_013543

Age – 28

What do you do? (Work)
I am the Program Director and lead facilitator of Next Gen Men, a nonprofit focused on building better men through youth and peer engagement, education, and empowerment.. I lead an after-school program for boys aged 12-14 years old that disrupts the prevalent ideas and misconceptions about what it means to ‘be a man’ today. We move beyond the stereotypes and empower boys to be men who make a positive impact on their communities.

Why do you do it?
I do this for two reasons. Being a man myself, I wish I had had something like this when I was growing up – a place that I would feel safe with my friends while learning some about the expectations of “being a man” that probably would have helped me to make fewer mistakes in my early adulthood. Secondly, I lost my brother to suicide when he was 13 and that always sits with me. I love that now, I have a chance to educate youth on the dangers of bullying, the importance of mental health, and teaching these young men that asking for help when you need it isn’t a sign of weakness, but strength.

How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
I believe the work that we are doing at Next Gen Men can one day make a huge difference in the world. Through engaging, educating, and empowering young men at an early age look at our work as prevention to reduction in all form of violence, with an emphasis on violence against women, and a reduction in male deaths by suicide due to an increased knowledge of mental health supports.

What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– The passing of my bother in 2007. It was an eye opener to appreciate family. Also, to make the most of the time you have on this world – I do that by helping others.
– Tearing my ACL. This is a pretty common injury, but for me the rehab process allowed me to expand the definition of myself. I wasn’t just Jermal, a great athlete anymore, I learned to be so much more.
– Getting engaged. The time since I met my fiancé has been the happiest consecutive years of my life and I know they will only continue with her in my life.

What is your life purpose?
I think my life purpose is to help. I know it is so vague, but I have always found a sense of peace when I know that I am helping someone. Whether it is young man who needs positive words of encouragement in program, to help with school work, or and an adult who just needs someone to listen to I like helping people work through the battles big or small.

How did you tap into it?
Giving can sometimes be difficult, I have heard some stories and things that people have gone through that just break my heart, but I know how important self-care is. I generally like to do solitary things as part of my self-care. When I was young that was practicing soccer by myself, as I got older that was basketball, now it is golf and writing.

Who is your Role Model or Mentor?
When I was younger, Tiger Woods was my role model. I loved his laser like focus. Now I would have to say it is my father. When I look back on my life and realize all the sacrifices he made for me, my brothers, people in my family to put them in a better position in their lives, it blows me away. His patience to see the big picture is a quality that I admire the most.

Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
One of my self-care techniques/hobbies has to be included. Whether it is the gym, writing, or just reflecting, it helps me tackle the day ahead and coffee, definitely coffee.

When do you know your work/life balance is off?
I generally just feel like garbage. Whether I haven’t got enough work done, I feel bad about myself if I am working too much and don’t make time for me for a couple of days. I have a guilty feeling either way.

Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
The most vulnerable moment in my life was going to see my mother while she was incarcerated when I was twelve. My father didn’t want me to go, but I knew it was something I had to do. It was scary, I was nervous and I went asking for love. It was the most vulnerable I have let myself be to this day.

What did you learn from it?
Well, the experience didn’t meet my expectations so it was disappointing. From it I learned to be strong, that putting yourself out there when asking for love doesn’t kill you, and most importantly, hope. I knew there would come a day where my expectations were met and I can say today they happily are.

If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
There comes a time in your life where you have to stop making your circumstances an excuse for why you should fail, and take responsibility of those circumstance and make them the reason you succeed.  I can say that I have had many moments in my life where shit was just hard, personal relationships, school, and circumstances that you just thought you’d never be in. I, many times let my circumstances be my scapegoat but there came a day when I just stopped doing that and life started to turn around slowly I might add, but it did and I would want that young man to know it will be YOU that made that choice.

How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
I think I am the best partner to my fiancé when I am just as giving in my outside life as in my relationship.

Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
I can’t say that I actively do through money consistently, but since Movember’s push into mental health and well being for men. It’s an organization that does such great work.
I have been a recent supporter of Movember, not only have they funded Next Gen Men, but I truly they are offering a holistic approach to men’s’ health. Especially on the Mental Health on the Mental Health approach. I am an advocate for youth mental health and I volunteered in my community as the youth mental health advisor.
Next Gen Men is so important to me because I have the opportunity to talk to young men and breaking down the old definition of a man that doesn’t need help. I share my personal stories to inspire them to understand that asking for help is not a sign of weakness and we need more men to help us in this effort.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Not sure

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
With work, that’s looking forward and seeing how accomplished Next Gen Men has become. In my personal life, I’m looking forward to being married in 2017 and starting a family.

What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
I guess the legacy I would like to leave is that I was instrumental in reducing suicide rates and violence against women by co-founding Next Gen Men. Though we are small, I know that our reach can be huge and exponential if the young men that come through our program can influence on friend with our message. ‘Wolfpack’ is a new initiative we are launching shortly in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver. It is a unique “brotherhood” of men focused on facilitating social supports with depth. We are looking to engage with men aged 25-45 to not only encourage them to be more socially connected but to draw from these connections when they go through tough times and transitions.

What One book would you recommend for any Man?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If you know a Man that is making a positive impact on the world, we would love to hear from you! Contact us at [email protected]

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