Putting lessons on respect into action

Coaching Boys Into Men builds character.

Seventeen-year-old Zach was a rising senior at Elizabeth Forward High School. He was the starting quarterback on the football team when he participated in United Way’s Coaching Boys Into Men program. This program is an innovative, evidence-based program that partners with athletic coaches to help high school athletes practice respect toward themselves and others.

“Through Coaching Boys Into Men, I’ve learned to be more respectful to women,” Zach said.
The program gives coaches specific content to help them better address and prevent relationship abuse. They are provided with tools and resources to address critical topics each week with their players, such as respectful relationships, harassment, consent, sexual assault, and more. The results have shown decreased sexual violence behaviors and increased bystander action from athletes involved.

“This has had a huge impact on my life and the lives of my teammates. Our coach is able to teach us these things because we’re in a comfortable setting,” Zach explained. Zach feels like the program also brought his teammates closer together. “It allows us to take what we learn and apply it to not just our lives at school, but our personal lives outside of school,” Zach remarked. “My teammates focus on holding each other accountable for what we learned through Coaching Boys Into Men.”

Zach plans to attend a four-year college and play football upon graduating. To learn more about how United Way’s Coaching Boys Into Men program is helping teach young men about healthy relationships and behaviors, visit