GLIDE’s Violence Intervention Programs (VIP), Community Safety Team, and Daily Free Meals Program joined forces for Men Matter, a wellness and self-care event for men in the GLIDE community. The day-long event on June 18th took place on the car-free 300 block of Ellis Street as a special feature of the Tenderloin Resource Hub in front of GLIDE. The gathering provided an opportunity for men to have fun, socialize with one another and obtain valuable community resources in a safe space free of violence.
The festive event included a free clothing bank where participants could pick out pre-loved, gently worn clothes, shoes, and accessories, free haircuts provided by YWAM, and an acupuncture clinic. Nutritious meal options included garlic-chicken fried rice, shish kabobs provided by Tae’s Tasty Treats, a Black-owned catering service. Also on the menu were grilled hotdogs and cupcakes provided by the Daily Free Meals Program.
Many of GLIDE’s programs participated in the Men Matter event, providing a host of tailored integrated services and outreach to support, inform and affirm. The Center for Social Justice handed out “Know Your Rights” cards while the Community Safety Team created a game zone with dominoes, chess, cornhole, and a pool tournament that featured two $50 gift cards, also from YWAM. GLIDE’s Violence Intervention Program and Walk-In Center teamed up to share wellness bags with new socks, San Francisco Giant shirts, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and the Women’s Center on hand with women’s resources as well.
“One of the things we do well here at GLIDE is that we collaborate to help reach people in need and make a difference in their lives,” said Saundra Haggerty, GLIDE’s Violence Intervention Programs (VIP) Manager, who coordinated the gathering. The Men Matter event is one of several initiatives in VIP, which, among other things, conducts court-ordered domestic violence intervention workshops for men and provides peer support to prevent repeat offenses. “We meet them where they are and want them to know we can help,” said Haggerty.
In addition to the many featured services, GLIDE’s Family Resource Center also provided parenting resources and information for fathers. And in keeping with GLIDE’s values of Loving and Hopeful and For the People, the event also featured an open-mic forum to allow participants the chance to be seen and heard.
Being recognized is important observed GLIDE Clinical Director Roderick Penalosa, who said the event provided a welcoming space for men in a marginalized community who may feel invisible. “The Men Matter event brings awareness that men, particularly men of color, can be misrepresented and characterized in ways that don’t often reflect the true essence and value of their humanity.”
“As an organization that advocates for inclusivity and radical compassion, GLIDE aims to raise the visibility of positive and healthy expressions of masculinity,” added Penalosa. “Men need to take accountability and responsibility for their behavior, but it is also critical for them to know that they are significant, accepted, and capable of being loved.”
Haggerty agreed and added that GLIDE looks forward to making community-focused gatherings like Men Matter annual events. “We want to come together to let the men in the community, and those we serve, know that we are here for them. We support them, and we want to help them in their healing process.”