Bekker, Nanco & Grant team up to educate youth about the impact of gender-based violence

Forge FC Hamilton has joined Interval House of Hamilton’s MentorAction ‘Be More Than a Bystander’ program in an effort to increase awareness and educate youth about the impact of gender-based violence, while raising awareness of healthy and unhealthy youth relationships.


“Forge FC is committed to promoting healthy, active and empowered youth, and we understand the impact our players, coaches and staff have as role models in our community,” said Matt Afinec, President and Chief Operating Officer of Forge FC. “It’s a privilege to be part of Be More Than A Bystander on the societal issue of gender-based violence. Having those transformational conversations with our youth sets the stage for healthy engagement and mentorship.”

“Interval House of Hamilton recognizes sports are an important cultural influencer and having the opportunity to expand our community engagement plan by partnering with Forge FC enhances our goals,” said Nancy Smith, Executive Director, Interval House of Hamilton. “Our partnership will play a huge role in achieving our mission and vision in raising awareness and ending gender-based violence. With Forge FC, we will continue to maximize and expand community wide prevention strategies by connecting with athletes, coaches and students to help them recognize the impact of gender-based violence and provide safe strategies to Be More Than A Bystander.”

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Forge FC and Interval House will continue to monitor public health regulations to shape the immediate parameters of the partnership. For the time being, youth and allies will continue to be engaged “where they’re at” – meaning, the model of engagement can be facilitated entirely through remote (online) to hybrid (mix of online with some in person work).

The program will feature BMTAB trained Forge FC players Kyle Bekker, Chris Nanco and Johnny Grant who will participate in:

  • Public service announcements and educational videos
  • Hosting a series of online virtual interactive Webinars focused largely on challenging toxic masculinity within sports. (Topics will include: Changing the Dressing Room Talk, Positive Coaching and Mentoring on and off the Field, etc.)
  • A social media awareness campaign through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • An expansion of the Be More Than A Bystander integration into community schools, through flexible online platforms
  • Supporting global Interval House/BMTAB initiatives

When youth soccer resumes safely, Forge FC will continue to engage in all aspects of the aforementioned initiatives and expand to include meeting with youth soccer teams and teaching youth to recognize gender-based violence, as well as provide practical tools to seek support and learn to Be More Than A Bystander.

About Forge FC Hamilton
One of eight members of the Canadian Premier League, Forge FC aims to unite Hamiltonians that are driven by a passion for soccer and lead the development of the sport in the Hamilton community. Playing in world-class and unique venues, and partnering with strong community-led ownership groups, the CPL is a league for Canadians by Canadians that brings professional soccer to communities coast-to-coast. For more information, visit

About Interval House of Hamilton
Interval House of Hamilton (IHOH) opened its doors in 1986 as a non-profit organization. The emergency shelter serves women, 16 years and older, with or without children who have experienced abuse, violence or human trafficking. Through community programs Women’s Centre Hamilton, Jared’s Place and Flamborough Women’s Resource Centre they provide counselling and legal advocacy, system navigation, outreach and housing supports. Committed to a gender intersectional and inclusive evidence-based analysis, IHOH believes in including the voices and experiences of the women they serve, the community and their stakeholders in how they design, improve and deliver services and advocacy. In 2013, they welcomed MentorAction, a group of male leaders who have aligned with us in standing up and speaking out about ending gender-based violence.

*In 2016 Interval House of Hamilton purchased the rights from EVA BC (Ending Violence Association of British Columbia) for the development and implementation of the ‘Be More Than a Bystander’ program in the greater Hamilton area.