The pandemic has no doubt affected us all in different ways. One of the many negative impacts it has had is creating physical and emotional isolation. Social connections are important for mental health.
A Social Connections Challenge was launched by Movember and Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) last June, which asked people in the motorcycle industry to provide high-level proposals for programs that would assist with creating and nurturing social connectivity. Submissions from Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and the UK made it past the first round of approval, which then required teams to develop a more thorough, in-depth proposal, including a fully mapped out pilot program with requirements and budgetary allocations.
You may recall a post several months ago where we shared information about a concept called Project Team Building. Adam Sanzo is a men’s mental health advocate and member of the Movember Toronto Volunteer Committee who assembled the group responsible. Their idea involved attracting gentlemen to congregate and create a community through the promise of a custom motorcycle build, from concept to completion. Covid threw something of a wrench into the reality of having large groups in close proximity, so they adjusted course by adding in a digital element where members could participate remotely.
On May 17th, it was announced that they would be the lone Canadian program out of the nine selected globally to receive full funding from Movember/DGR for a one-year pilot project. Upon its completion, the motorcycle will be raffled off. There will also be a podcast-style interview component where members of the executive team will speak to people in the motorcycle world and mental health community who would like to share their stories.
In preparation for the July 1st start date, the team has been diligently working to obtain equipment, secure a workspace, and short-list the kind of motorcycle they will be building. Once the program commences, they will be releasing build videos through YouTube and sharing the progress on social media channels for the community to follow along.
The team is currently recruiting project participants who will be part of the private, weekly build sessions, as well as looking for project partners who are interested in supplying parts or offering their services to assist with the build.
If anyone is interested in being a participant, partner, or a volunteer/guest speaker, feel free to reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The pilot is currently open to men in Ontario who feel physically or socially isolated and are looking to improve their mental health but will hopefully expand to other areas in the future.
Men often suffer in silence. Project Team Building aims to create a supportive community and help remove the stigma of admitting when you are struggling by sharing their own stories, but also focusing participants’ energy and attention on building something cool.