He's only been at The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay for a month, but Juan Rea already has his hands full.
Rea, 52, began a newly created outreach position as education and prevention specialist at the center in north Tampa with the task of connecting with Hispanic men and youth in Hillsborough County to help prevent violence against women and girls. He also wants to help reshape the stereotype of the "macho" man in the Hispanic community, which statistics show has become the largest minority group in the United States.
The first step?
"I'm organizing focus groups and workshops, and partnering with community agencies, schools and churches," Rea said.
Rea's position is much needed at the center that provides help for victims of sexual assault, said Kim Payne, marketing and public relations manager.
"I think one of the things that's interesting is that Juan is the first male to work in sexual assault services," Payne said. "A Latino male is needed to reach this population. I think it will do nothing but enhance the services we already offer. If we can reach more people and deter this issue, why wouldn't we want to do that?"
Rea, a native of Lima, Peru who lives in Town 'N Country, is no stranger to the world of social services.
He worked for the state Department of Children and Families from 1996 until this year.
He's aware of the work that lies ahead of him at the center at One Crisis Center Plaza off Bearss Avenue, but has a personal goal he tries keep in mind as he navigates his new career path.
"I want to spread the message of a new, healthier masculinity," he said. "Changing the norms, roles and molds that are still there."
For more information, or to contact Rea, call 813-264-9961.