Article published here in the Revelstoke Mountaineer.
A gap in men’s services has been addressed with the new Moving Mountains group, with gatherings kicking off this month.
We like to joke that for some men, getting to the root of their emotions can be like moving mountains. But a new men’s group hopes that by joining forces, anything can be conquered.
“In my experience, the times that we are the least connected are the times that are the most difficult, ” Moving Mountains program coordinator Taha Attiah said. “This group will provide support when you need it or an activity when you’re feeling less inclined to talk. Choose your own level of involvement.”
Isolation can be an issue in Revelstoke. Whether it’s working out of town and not having a social network or the difficulties that come with trying to build connection in a transient place. This group plans to connect men and provide an outlet.
“You might hear something in a conversation that is inspiring or really changes your perspective on a problem,” Attiah said.
Attiah has a background in psychology and most recently worked with youth in Prince Rupert. He grew up in the small Ontario town of Deep River, which is what set him on his path, “I didn’t have a ton of access to services and I don’t think my development would have been the same without the support of others,” Attiah said.
The Moving Mountains group will launch with a weekly gathering every Tuesday afternoon from May 22 to June 12. It will be held at Centennial Park from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., making it super easy for a casual ride-by on the Greenbelt or a drop-in before or after baseball. Men aged 19+ are all welcome, regardless of their situation.
“All we ask is participants are open to meet others wherever they stand and contribute to a supportive atmosphere,” Attiah said. “It’s an experiment, a new concept for Revelstoke. I think there is enough of a need. We’ll try different set ups and different ways of reaching out.”
Moving Mountains is funded with grant money from the Columbia Basin Trust. This is distributed through the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society, which will otherwise have minimal involvement. Since 2014, the shelter has had a successful program for women called Moving Forward and over time staff at the shelter have fielded calls from men in crisis.
Men’s issues are important for an overall healthy social/family dynamic and later in the year the two Moving programs will host separate retreats for men and women, with their respective children.
“I think a lot of people see a huge hurdle in accessing services of any kind and maybe they’re unsure if this applies to them or they’re waiting for things to get bad enough before they do something,” Attiah said. “One of the big goals of this is prevention, so a shift in the way people think and encourage them to come and see what sort of community can develop.”