The following post was shared with CALCASA by the staff of the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, which has been conducting the MyStrength program at Marina High School for the past seven years.

David Baker and MyStrength Facilitator Victor Ramos

David Baker and MyStrength Facilitator Victor Ramos


Before joining the Marina High School My Strength club his sophomore year, David Baker felt like he was walking around accepting whatever life was around him.  “Once I got to My Strength it made me think of the future instead of the present.  As a high schooler, you think about the ‘right now’ but My Strength made me think about what I want to be in 5-10 years and it’s influenced how I act now.”
The MyStrength club is a space for young men to talk about living a life based on equality, caring and respect.  When asked about what he really connected to, David talks about how the curriculum taught him critical thinking, especially language and how it affects individuals subconsciously.  For instance, he cited examining the roles of gender stereotypes and the cycle of violence and how we can subtly see it in the world today.  He especially saw this in everyday language.  For instance, “Talking to guys is totally different than how you talk to girls, but guys don’t normally think anything about those differences.    Every time someone talks, you begin to realize how it affects the other person and it makes you think about how you want to act and how it affects society.  You know you’re a part of society and don’t know your impact, but after My Strength you see that everyone’s actions create and change society.”
After three years in the Marina High School MyStrength club, David felt that participating in community events reinforced what he was learning in My Strength sessions.  He stated that the sessions felt like learning textbook theories – ideals – but that when he attended events, like the Vagina Monologues, Denim Day, Slut Walk, etc., that the ideas talked about in the classroom felt more tangible and that he could immerse himself in everything that he’d learned.
David had hoped to continue with the message and mission of My Strength after he graduated through an alumni legacy program.  In the meantime, David continued to participate in events that carried the same message he learned in club.  It was at one of these events two years later, 1 Billion Rising, that he was spotted by the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center’s Executive Director, Clare Mounteer, while wearing his My Strength shirt.  Once they connected, David immediately plugged into the agency.  He recently completed the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center Advocate training and has helped facilitate the agency’s three My Strength Clubs.
Currently, David is focusing on his future as an engineering major and plans on applying to the Navy Seals Special Forces.  He feels that My Strength brought out his love of learning.  “My Strength was a place where I learned how to better myself and reinforced that I want to be a well-rounded individual and better myself in all areas of my life.  My Strength helped make my future path wider and I want to try different things in life to be well-rounded person.”
David Baker tabling at Marina High School for Denim Day

David Baker tabling at Marina High School for Denim Day