Volunteer Project/Nurturing Fathers Program

I have been a successful parent educator for 18 years and have been leading groups for the last ten years.  I have worked at Northeast Parent & Child Society for 25 years and the work that I have been involved in with parents has made the parenting program “a program of choice”.  I have been able to demonstrate (prove) that parenting education prevents placement of children in foster care or returns children home from foster care sooner and they stay at home, not being placed again.  This saves the community money.  My volunteer project for the Leadership Development Initiative is going to serve an underserved community (dads), providing  a psycho-educational group helping dad’s to understand why they parent the way they do and helping them to learn how to become the dad they want/intend to be.

The Nurturing Fathers Program is a 13 week long evidence based program that has existed for nearly 20 years.  The program is very well researched in use with African American, Latin and caucasian dads and is proven to change the way that men view “power over” compared to  “power to” (working in partnership).  I am planning to conduct 2 groups during our year together and have at least 20 dads complete the class successfully.  I will be doing this with another community organization called the Community Fathers Program.

As an Parent Educator I have worked with hundreds of dad’s in the the last 10 years that have asked how they could continue working with me after they have completed the classes I offer (Active Parenting Now-7 week class for parents of children 1,2,3,4 & 5-12 & Teens, Incredible years Basic Class-24 week class, Incredible Years Newborn class-10 week class).  I have also met dad’s that weren’t struggling with learning parenting skills but were instead trying to understand how to not be the dad they had learned to become (powerful, demanding and tough).

The week after I was accepted into the Empire State College Leadership Development Initiative, I called the Nurturing Fathers Program developer and spoke with him extensively about the research I had done on this program.  I registered for the next training which was held this week (October 10-14) in Sarasota, Florida.  He trains teachers one time each year in this program.  I sat with 25 other men and woman from across the country that all shared my vision and hope for empowering dad’s and helping them see how important they are as dad’s and help them learn how to become they want to be.  Many of the dad’s that I will be working with have experiences with being incarcerated (long absences), not paying support and children they have been separated from due to separation with the mom’s.

I will be working with the Community Fathers Program and volunteering my time to facilitate this class with men that they serve.  The Community Fathers Program works on a shoestring budget and they struggle to be able to offer high quality, evidence based services and provide high quality programs and demonstrate a measurable outcome.  I will be providing all of the materials and time needed to help the dad’s that participate learn to become more “reflective” in responding to their children’s needs.  We know from National research that children NEED dad’s.  Children that don’t have dad’s involved are more likely to: become incarcerated, to be placed in residential facilities, to become sex offenders (rape).  Children with fathers involved do better academically and have fewer social/emotional problems (National Fathering Research).

As a very trusted (Family Court and LDSS office) and honored Parent Educator in my community (Schenectady, New York), I hope to provide the Community Fathers Program with an opportunity to use my service to gain funding so they can train some of their dad’s to become Nurturing Fathers Program group leaders. I look forward to sharing my successes, struggles and challenges with each of you in our year together.