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Fighting the ‘Friendship Recession’

Bridges to Success Participants Bond and BBQ

Omar Chavez, John Armantrout

Labor Day Weekends are for bonding and BBQ! And, for the men of Just in Time’s Bridges to Success Service, starting new traditions. The first ever “Men of JIT BBQ” came together Saturday, September 3rd at Just in Time board member John Armantrout’s house where, despite the 100 degree weather, JIT participants gathered for tacos, good conversation and cornhole.

Nathaniel Martinez, Emilio Carranza
September 8, 2022

Upcoming events

September 10: Pathways Conference

September 14: Rise to Resilience Workshop

September 16: Fishing Day

September 17: Lobsterfest

September 17: Bridges to Success/ Career Horizons Networking Event

Labor Day Weekends are for bonding and BBQ! And, for the men of Just in Time’s Bridges to Success Service, starting new traditions. The first ever “Men of JIT BBQ” came together Saturday, September 3rd at Just in Time board member John Armantrout’s house where, despite the 100 degree weather, JIT participants gathered for tacos, good conversation and cornhole.

“The corn hole scoring was getting a bit confusing at first,” said Omar, a JIT staff member who attended the event, “For several of the guys it was their first-time playing corn hole seriously. I was struck by one youth, Danny, who traveled all the way down from Fullerton to attend the BBQ. This just shows how much we need these kind of events.”

Bridges to Success has a strong focus on helping young men within the JIT community build relationships with peers and volunteer coaches. These relationships are critical to the mental wellbeing of our participants. Nationally, studies have shown that friendships among American men are declining, with the percentage of men who have at least 6 close friends falling by half in the last two decades. A recent article by VOX called it a “friend recession,” linking it to dire health impacts that increase likelihood of suicide Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure and cancer. For former foster youth, who often struggle to form and maintain meaningful relationships due to impermanent placements in foster care, this issue is exacerbated.

Miguel Ochoa, Rob Furey
Edward Reyes, Khylan Bolden, Bryan Mancera

BBQ, participants were able to relax into their friendships, crack jokes, share events from their personal lives as well as get advice about professional and financial goals from trusted coaches and peer mentors. “The Men of JIT BBQ” is just one of many ways that Bridges to Success strives to create intentional space for JIT’s male participants to combat trends in social isolation. During the BBQ, participants were able to relax into their friendships, crack jokes, share events from their personal lives as well as get advice about professional and financial goals from trusted coaches and peer mentors.

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