Wallace counselor starts club to mentor youth

Wallace Elementary Counselor Beatrice Alcantar founder of JR Gentlemen Club 

Photo and Story by Catherine Stachowiak 

The school counselor Beatrice Alcantar, at Wallace Elementary School, started a new club for boys called JR Gentlemen Group, at which different men in the community will be presenting talks on positive character traits during the boys’ lunch time.

The very first Friday meeting, the grade 3 version of the club had 26 members attending. And for grades 4 and 5, which are a combined group, the club had over 32 members attending.

“We started it before going on spring break. The first meeting was me going over the expectations of the boys,” Alcantar said.

Speaker volunteers chose their date to speak according to the skill focused on that week. The skills she listed include responsibility and hard work, which was the topic at the second meeting, which the Kern Valley Sun visited.  Other topics speakers plan to speak on include growth and mindset and becoming a self-starter, generosity and service, gratitude and caring for self and others, healthy confidence and humility. “The gentlemen will speak about how those skills impacted their life and how to use those skills at their level that can help them in their life academically and personally,” she said.

At the end of the school year there will be a celebration and the middle school youth will discuss their own personal growth with the younger boys.

The counselor told the Kern Valley Sun, “I started observing that a lot of the boys don’t have a positive role model for their life.”  

Alcantar also noticed a lot of boys needed training with their social skills.

Boys started asking her when she was going to start a boys group because she had already started a girls group called Crowned Warriors at the school.  

Because the counselor didn’t know what it’s like to be a boy she decided to bring in men who could teach the boys basic life skills.

“I wanted it to have a name that the boys would feel it’s something cool to attend with a meaning behind it,” she said.  

When the boys come into the group, they receive a black bow tie. They wear the tie when they listen to the presenter.  “I want them to have that experience that they’re attending something important.” She said, “So that’s the purpose behind the bow tie.”  

At the end of the year’s meetings the boys would also get to keep the bow tie and a pair of sunglasses.

She reached out to community members and organizations to recruit gentlemen from the community to come speak at the group for the boys. 

Alcantar is planning on continuing the Jr. Gentlemen club for the next school year.

“I just feel like our students are our future and we need to help them with the skills that they need to grow and to face life and the trials they will face.  We as the adults in the community have the knowledge the wisdom that we can pass down to them,” Alcantar said.

Ultimately Alcantar would like to have the boys do service activities practicing the skills they learned.