Hombre Noble On November 20, 1998, a group of Chicano/Native American men gathered for three days at the Barrio Station’s Rancho Viva Elena in a circle of friendship and brotherhood. A very enriching exchange of words, feelings, and spiritual energy were shared through discussion, laughter, prayer, ceremony and reflections, all directed at the many issues facing hombres (men) as they pertain to ourselves, our family, and community. This was the beginning of Izcalli’s Annual Men’s Gathering, which addresses the importance of who we are as men.
Now the gathering has grown in size with over one hundred Chicano/Native American men attending from all walks of life including fathers, lawyers, politicians, construction workers, mechanics, retired elders, traditional healers, professors, social workers, counselors, and gardeners. The group has been blessed to have Maestro Jose Montoya and Guillermo Aranda run the gathering each year. The gathering follows the tradition of the circulo taught by Jose Montoya, Jerry Tello and other men part of the National Compadres Network. Izcalli is a recognized member of this very important network of men and with the guidance of Jerry Tello and in collaboration with Family Health Centers of San Diego the Izcalli Hombre Noble program was formed to work with young men. Izcalli currently is collaborating with the San Diego Unified School District’s Race Human Relations and Advocacy Department and is implementing the program in the district.
The Hombre Noble program works with Chicano/Latino male students who must attend a ten-week curriculum at their school site. The goal of the program is to assist young Chicano/Latino males to feel a sense of support and belonging on their school campus as a means for them to reach their intellectual potential. By achieving this we hope to reduce and reverse the dramatic drop out rate (50%) of Chicano/Latino males in San Diego City schools. The curriculum’s goal is to steer young males away from the self-destructive behavior that has a negative impact on the community. The retreat at Rancho San Vincente is a culminating part of the curriculum. The retreat provides young men with a life-changing experience in a safe and healthy environment that will facilitate their journey into higher education and reversing the trends of violence and educational disregard that continues to plague Chicano/Latino males. Izcalli also provides follow-up with these students by involving them in community events and other facets of the organization.