Great Guys

Zack Gendreau and Matthew Barry recognized by YWCA Daybreak for work on domestic violence

October 28, 2014
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There are a lot of good people in the WPI community. Even great ones. And two who have devoted much of their time and efforts toward ending, and educating about sexual assault and domestic violence were recognized by Worcester’s YWCA Daybreak for their efforts.

Linda Cavaioli, executive director of YWCA of Central Massachusetts, with Great Guys Award recipients Zachary Gendreau and Matthew Barry.Zachary Gendreau ’14, now a graduate student, and Matthew Barry, a mental health counselor at WPI’s Student Development and Counseling Center, were recognized at the annual YWCA Daybreak Breakfast with its “Great Guys Award.” Monday’s program at Holy Cross, was titled “Working Together: Engaging Men to End Violence Against Women.”

The awards were presented by Anna Maria professor and former prosecutor Michael Donnelly, co-chair of the Daybreak Standing Committee. Also receiving the Great Guy award was Worcester police detective George Adams.

The purpose of the annual Daybreak breakfast is to applaud the efforts of those in the community who work to stop domestic violence and to place domestic violence issues in the spotlight in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Daybreak is a service provided by the YWCA that lends support to those who are adversely affected by domestic violence.

“One of the great things Daybreak has done is recognizing the bonds between all of us,” Donnelly said before naming the award winners. “They cut across economic class, and they also cut across gender. And the question of men as allies in this work is crucial. And so, this is a small step but, I think, an important step in recognizing them (the awardees).”

Great guys don’t come from nowhere.
Matthew Barry

Matthew Barry has been an integral part of the violence prevention work at WPI, serving as a clinician, mentor, presenter, educator, advisor, program planner and advocate. He serves as an advisor to SPARC (Students Preventing Assault and Rape in Our Community), a student group dedicated to educating people about sexual assault and domestic violence. He also sits on the SAVE (Sexual Assault and Violence Education) Committee, which comprises staff, faculty, and students who plan educational programs and discuss the campus climate related to sexual and domestic violence.

Barry sets an example for all WPI students, and has a genuine passion for his violence prevention work, and commitment to building a caring and safe community for all students.

“Great guys don’t come from nowhere,” Barry said after the program. “They may seem kind of obvious, but great guys don’t exist without great fathers, great uncles, great grandfathers, great mentors and teachers, but also great mothers, great grandmothers, great aunts. And, I think part of being a great guy is seeing the great potential everyone has to offer.

“I am very honored and humbled to receive this award, and I hope to continue the work that we’re doing, and always keep it right at the forefront of the best practices.”

Gendreau, a Wisconsin native who came to WPI to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, was an active community member, joining the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and serving as president of campus groups SPARC and Promoting Alcohol and Substance Safety. He also was a member of the varsity crew team. Under his leadership, Men Against Violence and Rape in Our Community (an all-male group) and CAS 101 (an all-female group) were merged to form SPARC and strengthen its mission of educating people about sexual assault and domestic violence.

Peer leader

Over the past four years Gendreau has also helped organize WPI’s Take Back the Night event, an international event with the mission of ending sexual violence in all forms. He has set a good example as a peer leader at WPI and in the greater community, and his contributions have and will continue to create a positive dialogue around violence prevention and education.

“I’m incredibly honored to receive this award, both for myself and WPI,” Gendreau said. “I couldn’t have done any of the work without the support of both SPARC and SDCC, (Student Development and Counseling Center). Jess Guyette and Erica Tolles both helped me out tremendously, as well as Matt Barry, throughout my four years, to be able to achieve all the things I’ve achieved for this college.

“I think [the award] will help to further my efforts and help WPI as a community to see that we’re not the only ones working on this, and that there are other people who should be recognized in the community for being proactive on the campus will be helpful to both me and the WPI community.”

WPI professor of writing James Dempsey received the Great Guys Award in 2011.