Recently told he would have to wait to complete his NWTA in New England, Jake, who recently celebrated his 30th birthday, can’t wait to learn his animal name and to ‘dive into’ himself and learn a little about MKP and men’s work facilitation. He is now planning to read Iron John by Robert Bly to get better prepared for his hero’s journey, which he notes was exemplified by Star Wars, as well as continue to regularly attend in-person Junkyard Dogs meetings.
Though born in Bethlehem, PA, Jake lived the first 25 years of his life in the rural Pocono mountains. His father, a Vietnam veteran, broke his hip in basic training, but the Army sent him to Vietnam for six months anyway, and though he worked for several years after discharge, he received 100% disability in 1975. As a result, his mother was the breadwinner of the household as a teacher at the Army Depot in Tobyhanna, PA, and his father a stay-at-home father. His father eventually became an alcoholic until he needed a liver transplant and spent a year in rehabilitation in Philadelphia. At this time, Jake was only 14, taking on the role of third parent for his younger twin siblings, picking them up at the bus stop after school, making dinners, and ensuring the twins did their homework.
As a child Jake enjoyed bicycling, gaming, and hunting for dinosaur bones with his friends because he wanted to be a paleontologist after watching Jurassic Park. He got into Penn State’s engineering program at the Scranton Campus with some 1000 commuters like him, but decided to change to IT, when he had few other options. At college he was very active in student government being student president for three years winning awards for best events that he organized in three years and several other awards. After graduating he tried to find work, but a small inheritance from his grandmother meant he could go back to school for a degree more suited to his interests. So in 2015 he moved out from his parent’s home to study political science at the Penn State University Park Campus, State College, PA, a campus with 50,000 students, a big and welcome change in his life.
At Penn State he participated in Model U.N. in which students represent different countries and they are tasked to solve world crises. For example, today they might be solving the problem with the war in Ukraine. This activity allowed him to travel to Yale and the University of Virginia. At Penn State he ‘worked hard to play hard’. Eventually meeting a woman with whom he would move to Harrisburg after graduating and who would become his fiancé.
In Harrisburg he worked with a Pennsylvania House Democrat Campaign Committee, but could not translate that into a full-time job, but it did help him decide that politics was not a good fit for him. He then got his first full-time job with a company that he found to have a toxic environment, so he left for a car sales position which he had until the beginning of the recession in March 2022 when he was laid off. He had another job in late 2020, but after breaking up with his fiancé and having another failed relationship, he decided to quit his job and move to Massachusetts near Groton. He has since joined a gym and lost 70 lbs., gotten a therapist who recommended he try a men’s group and participated regularly with in-person and online Junkyard Dogs meetings.
When he Googled men’s groups the Mankind Project was the first or second video that would come up. He watched a video and liked the idea of using MKP to develop left-behind skill sets, as well as the concept of connecting better through a better understanding of ones emotions. Then he used the contact page to connect with Tom Caruso, NE Area New Brother Coordinator who referred him to a circle within 30 minutes that was meeting regularly in-person.
He has been a regular member of the Junkyard Dogs since December 2021, missing only a few weekly meetings since then. He likes the circle because he can authentically express how he feels in a unique safe masculine container. He finds the circle gives him an opportunity to get guidance, and advice from older and wiser men, and he appreciates the support for well-being in a non-clinical context.
He has visited several Greater Boston Community Circles to help announce the Greater Boston Community Online Party that was canceled due to poor registration numbers. He says he’d like to get involved in MKP NE Area roles, including I-Group Representation, and he is leery of getting involved in too many activities. His interests fit with what he says, “If he were a part on a bicycle, he would be the chain because he likes to propel things to go forward.”