• This program is for:

    Male-identified individuals in grade nine in selected schools and community organizations.

  • Costs & Fees

    Please contact us for more information.

  • Location

    Calgary and area, including Rocky View and Foothills school divisions.

  • Hours & Availability

    Sessions are weekly in school or community-based settings.

  • How to Register

    Please contact our Youth Programs Manager.

  • Contact Us

    Contact Us

What is WiseGuyz?

WiseGuyz is a healthy relationship, life skills program for male-identified individuals in grade nine. WiseGuyz is an evidence-informed participatory program designed to promote healthy relationships and prevent adolescent dating violence. The program provides a safe space for participants to reflect on the impacts of harmful gender stereotypes and build essential relationship skills. These skills aim to promote healthy sexuality and healthy relationship development while decreasing attitudes related to homophobia and gender-based violence. In school settings, WiseGuyz strategically targets grade 9 boys who are 13 – 15 years old because this is an important time of change as they transition to high school.

The WiseGuyz story

A few years ago, the Centre for Sexuality began to see a critical need in the community. Through research, focus groups, and a review of current programs covering social, emotional, sexual, and relational health, we discovered a need for a program designed specifically for young men.

We recognized that most sexual health services were focused on pregnancy prevention and that while teen pregnancy rates had dramatically dropped, STI rates continued to rise. We saw alarming trends around the cultural and media messages young boys were receiving about what it means to be a man. We continued to see bullying and homophobia occurring in schools. What was society teaching our young men and how could we change the conversation? As a result, WiseGuyz was born.

WiseGuyz in schools and community-based organizations

WiseGuyz runs weekly within selected schools in Calgary and area. The program is comprised of four sequential core modules that are facilitated over the course of the school year.

WiseGuyz is also offered in community settings to boys aged 12-18 in partnership with other community organizations.

If you are interested in having WiseGuyz in your school or community organization, please email Youth Programs Manager for more information: lharrisson@centreforsexuality.ca.

Program Overview

Module 1 – Healthy Relationships

This module focuses on supporting participants develop skills to build healthy and respectful relationships. Participants will learn about personal and relational boundaries, consent, coping skills, and effective ways to express emotion and resolve conflict.

Module 2 – Sexual Health

This module focuses on increasing participants’ understating of their own sexual and reproductive health. Participants will learn about healthy sexuality, how bodies change during puberty and tools to make informed decisions about their own sexual health. Participants will elaborate on what sexual consent is and will learn about Canadian laws and ages of consent for young people.

Module 3 – Gender, Sexuality, and the Media

This module focuses on challenging harmful and limiting representations of gender. Participants will learn the differences between sex and gender and will be encouraged to examine and deconstruct harmful gender norms and stereotypes that are portrayed in the media.

Module 4 – Human Rights, Advocacy, and Allyship

This module focuses on encouraging participants to discuss concepts of equity and justice on a broader social scale, and to explore how stereotypes and prejudices can have an impact on people’s opportunities. Participants will discuss ways in which they can stand up for the rights of those experiencing oppression. This can range from being an active bystander in their day to day lives, to advocacy and engagement with broader social issues.

Our Research – What we are learning about our impact

WiseGuyz is an evidence-informed program. Comprehensive evaluation and ongoing formative research have been conducted on the program since 2012. It has been recognized as a promising practice program for the prevention of domestic violence.

We have collected evaluation data from over 800 WiseGuyz participants since 2014 to help us understand the impact of the program. From this research we know that WiseGuyz are better able to engage in healthy relationships and feel more comfortable making social connections and coping with negative emotions. We also know that as a result of taking the program that WiseGuyz demonstrated significant improvements in homophobic attitudes, social expectations around what it means to be a guy, and attitudes about their own sexual health knowledge and abilities. Recent data also suggests that the program improves mental health and friendship quality.

We are also working in partnership with the Hope Lab on outcomes evaluation and scaling of the program:

For more information about WiseGuyz, check out research and articles about the program:

Research Reports:

Articles and other media:

Frequently Asked Questions

For Parents and Caregivers

Junior high can be tough for young guys but we can help make it a bit easier! The WiseGuyz Program consists of weekly, 90-minute sessions during school hours, for the duration of the school year and it is totally free to sign up.
WiseGuyz is a space to talk about things that guys don’t often get to discuss. We cover topics related to healthy relationships, consent, boundaries, sexual health, media literacy and much more. We also provide participants with information and tools to make responsible, informed decisions about their sexual health and relationships based on their own values. Our aim is to give participants practical skills and the confidence to be themselves, reject social pressure and question harmful media messages, as well as make their school/community a better place.
WiseGuyz is an evidence-informed program which has been recognized as a promising program for the prevention of domestic violence. We strive to provide developmentally appropriate, evidence-informed learning experiences which follow Alberta Health and Lifeskills Curriculum outcomes.
The program has four modules: Healthy Relationships; Sexual Health; Gender, Sexuality and the Media; and Power and Privilege.
All WiseGuyz facilitators are full-time staff at Centre for Sexuality who have undergone intensive long-term training in order to work in classrooms. Many of them are registered social workers or have backgrounds in counselling, health, science or education.
In school settings, WiseGuyz runs for the duration of the school year with 24 sessions of 90 minutes each.
We know that young people are often seeking information about sex, their bodies and relationships, often from sources that are not accurate or intended for educational purposes (e.g., pornography). We’re proud to provide access to factual information and tools to support informed decision-making.
Furthermore, we know that comprehensive sexual health education plays a role in reducing sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination. WiseGuyz promotes respect for human rights and gender equality, provides information and skills related to consent and safety, and increases critical thinking around societal attitudes that contribute to violence based on gender or sexual identity.
WiseGuyz was developed in 2010 in response to alarming trends around the cultural and media messages young boys were receiving about what it means to be a man, as well as extensive bullying and homophobia in schools.
Through the WiseGuyz Program, we encourage boys to challenge stereotypes, be aware of the language they use and embrace diversity. We help them understand the true impact of bullying and prejudice and help them prepare to be an active bystander when they witness discrimination or exclusion. Program participants have demonstrated significant improvements in homophobic attitudes, social expectations around what it means to be a guy and attitudes about sexual health. Recent data also suggests that the program improves mental health and friendship quality.
We share information and tools to support informed decision making and encourage youth to discuss and recognize their own values when making decisions, including abstinence and other contraceptive choices. Adolescent sexual health interventions can have a significant positive impact on sexual health behaviours including delaying their first sexual activity (abstinence) and increasing use of condoms and other contraceptives.
Our age-appropriate program aligns with Alberta Education Outcomes, and is informed by SIECCAN guidelines. Within our sessions, we use an anonymous Question Box tool as a way to create space for participants to ask questions about their bodies, relationships or anatomy and where they will receive a non-judgmental, factual and empathetic response. It is much better for students to hear factual, normalised, age-appropriate answers from professionals on our team rather than from questionable sources.
WiseGuyz emphasizes the importance of Natural Supports (parents/caregivers) as we know they are the most important educators in their child’s life. The program highlights that each person will have different experiences, values, and opinions and that it is important to talk to our natural supports and other trusted adults in school or other safe and supported settings.
We are also happy to run sessions for parents regarding how you can support your son navigate adolescence, friendships, relationships and conversations about sexual health.
At schools where we are delivering WiseGuyz, we’re very happy to facilitate workshops for parents. Our parent workshops provide further information about our programs and tools for supporting conversations about sexual and relationship health with your child; they also offer an opportunity for discussion with other parents/caregivers.
If you’re looking for support around a specific topic, we are happy to offer one-to-one sessions with our staff counsellors.

For Educators

Our WiseGuyz school program content is non-negotiable. As an evidence-informed comprehensive program created by and delivered by experts, we understand the importance of scaffolded sessions that deliver positive outcomes. Reducing the scope of the program compromises the outcomes.
If program duration is an issue for you, we may have other programs to meet your needs. Please connect with us to learn more.
The WiseGuyz Program meets the following Alberta Health and Life Skills Curriculum Outcomes:
Module 1: Healthy Relationships:
R-9.1 identify appropriate strategies to foster positive feelings/attitudes
R-9.2 analyze why individuals choose not to express or manage feelings in situations; e.g., using anger to manipulate others, avoid others, feel powerful
R-9.3 analyze, evaluate and refine personal strategies for managing stress/crises
R-9.4 analyze, evaluate and refine personal communication patterns
R-9.5 describe and analyze factors that contribute to the development of unhealthy relationships, and develop strategies to deal with unhealthy relationships
R-9.6 model integrity and honesty in accordance with ethical principles; e.g., develop strategies to behave in an ethical manner
R-9.7 refine personal conflict management skills; e.g., negotiation, mediation strategies
R–9.8 analyze skills required to maintain individuality within a group; e.g., self-respect, assertiveness, refusal skills
Module 2: Sexual Health:
W-8.3 recognize and accept that individuals experience different rates of physical, emotional, sexual and social development
W-8.4 develop personal strategies to deal with pressures to have a certain look/lifestyle; e.g., accept individual look
W–9.7 evaluate implications and consequences of sexual assault on a victim and those associated with that victim
W–9.8 develop strategies to promote harm reduction/risk management; e.g., differentiate between choosing personal challenges or acting impulsively, encourage others to evaluate risks
W-9.12 determine “safer” sex practices; e.g., communicate with partner, maintain abstinence, limit partners, access/use condoms/contraceptives properly
W-9.13 identify and describe the responsibilities and resources associated with pregnancy and parenting
W-9.14 develop strategies that address factors to prevent or reduce sexual risk; e.g., abstain from drugs and alcohol, date in groups, use assertive behaviour
Module 3: Gender Sexuality and the Media:
R–9.5 describe and analyze factors that contribute to the development of
unhealthy relationships, and develop strategies to deal with unhealthy relationships
W-9.4 analyze and develop strategies to reduce the effects of stereotyping on body image; e.g., health risks of altering natural body size/shape to meet media ideal
Module 4- Human Rights, Advocacy, and Allyship
L–9.3 use decision-making skills to select appropriate risk-taking activities for personal growth and empowerment; e.g., increasing freedom means increased responsibility for consequences of choices
R–9.6 model integrity and honesty in accordance with ethical principles; e.g., develop strategies to behave in an ethical manner
We require a closed classroom space with access to a whiteboard and audio/visual setup.