San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Students volunteer at 25th Anniversary celebration of Boys To Men Mentoring Network

Jay Sheehan’s event planning class gained hands-on experience behind the scenes of a private concert by Jason Mraz at a local charity gala
Photo Courtesy of Alan Hess
Jason Mraz at B2M 25th Celebration on April 22, 2023.

San Diego State University students volunteered to organize a private concert on Apr. 22 at the Catamaran Resort for singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. 

The show was in honor of  the Rooted In Resiliency Celebration of the 25th anniversary of Boys To Men Mentoring

Boys To Men is a network of male role models whose mission is to empower young boys through support groups in San Diego County. The network currently contains over 80 mentors that work in and outside of schools to help boys work through trauma and limiting beliefs. 

SDSU Faculty Production Manager Jay Sheehan, organized the event through his production company, Cue One Productions. He enlisted the help of students from his classes, specifically through the Event Coordination and Entertainment Industry class. 

“I put out the word to my students, and several answered the call,” Sheehan said. “And I thought, ‘this would be a really great opportunity for us to do it together.’ Instead of just shadowing me, they’re actually participating.”

Boys To Men founder, Joe Sigurdson, said the organization is based on not only helping the boys, but stimulating growth in mentors, too. 

 “There’s a symbiotic experience that when we as mentors get to be a part of a young man’s success, we get a lot of our own fulfillment and joy and success,” Sigurdson said. 

This year the organization’s “Rooted In Resiliency” Celebration commemorated its achievements with the inaugural presentation of its “Community Hero” award to former World Champion Surfer, Shaun Tomson, and then a live performance from Mraz. 

Sheehan created the event planning class to build on introductory topics from its predecessor, Stage Management Theory. The course allows students to explore their passions, meet professional contacts and receive mentorship. Sheehan also used his career experience to inspire curriculum and volunteer opportunities. 

“As my career progressed from doing rock concerts to charitable events, I felt that it was a good opportunity for me to teach the importance of giving back to the community and getting involved in producing special events for nonprofits,” Sheehan said. 

One of Sheehan’s first-year students, Aden Carlson, believes his classes and volunteer opportunities are important for post-college success. Carlson described the class as the opposite of a stereotypical college course with exams, textbooks and studying. 

“Jay’s is more like a real-world, practical kind of class where instead of taking exams, you’re building relationships and meeting people that could benefit you in the future,” Carlson said. 

Sheehan’s volunteer gig at the Catamaran Resort was more than Carlson had hoped for. Carlson was able to step into a production assistant role and assist Mraz’s crew backstage. He expressed excitement about working in such novel and stimulating environments. 

“It’s all very new, but for me, it was super inspiring because this is what I want my career to be in the future,” Carlson said. 

Carlson helped stagehands behind the scenes to set up and became a part of the team. Volunteering with a nonprofit organization like Boys To Men allowed Carlson to learn about the issues impacting the community around him. 

“I’m an out-of-state student,” Carlson said. “So it’s fun to  get that firsthand experience of learning about my new community from the firsthand perspective of being active in it.”

Carlson gained insight into concert planning that he couldn’t get in a classroom as a student. Mraz — who also volunteered his time with his performance at the gala — grew up being involved with youth programs. With the help of various mentors in his upbringing, Mraz became inspired to pursue music and dedicate his time to helping his community. Mraz aims to continue his mission and support organizations like Boys To Men.

“There are so many great programs that offer care or some version of alleviating suffering,”  Mraz said. “Some version of giving opportunities and causing peace in the world.”

Boys To Men’s mission is to guide young men to make impactful choices that will put them on the right path. Students like Carlson championed that purpose and gained valuable on-the-job experience in his career field. 

Whether it concerns charitable acts or Mraz himself, volunteering can be an educational, transformative venture for everyone, including college students.

Various volunteer opportunities like this are available and are encouraged for college students to participate.

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Students volunteer at 25th Anniversary celebration of Boys To Men Mentoring Network