June 19 is a day to not only to celebrate fathers, but also to recognize the work that organizations nationwide are doing to help struggling fathers gain the job skills and stability they need to support their children and families. One Goodwill in particular has been working for over 10 years to support and build strong fathers because, as they note, “Good fathers make great kids.”
Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota’s FATHER (Fostering Actions To Help Earnings and Responsibility) Project helps metro-area fathers who are low-income, non-custodial dads to become more involved in their children’s lives. The FATHER Project’s mission is to assist fathers in overcoming the barriers that prevent them from supporting their children economically and emotionally.
Since 1999, the FATHER Project has been changing lives for Minnesota fathers and their families. The FATHER Project believes that the positive involvement of both parents is important to the healthy development of children and increases their chances of leading a safe, happy childhood and growing into mature adults.
Setting an Example for Success
Mike, a current FATHER Project participant completed parenting classes at the FATHER Project and recently obtained full-time employment as a customer service representative. With help from the program, he has been able to establish paternity and visitation for children, establish reasonable child support payments and re-obtain a drivers license.
Mike began working with a mentor named Marcus in March of this year to set goals, work on life skills and address personal self-management issues. They meet every Wednesday at Goodwill/Easter Seals’ offices for at least one hour per week. Marcus has also helped him become more comfortable talking with others and dealing with and expressing his frustrations in a professional and constructive manner.
Marcus is actually a former FATHER Project participant himself. He has completed the leadership group at the Father Project, and he requested to be a mentor in the Second Chance Mentor Program. He volunteers his time at the FATHER Project assisting with facilitation of leadership groups for current participants.
Paying It Forward
Like Marcus, your knowledge and experiences can help someone else succeed. You can help someone make positive changes in their life. If you live in the Minneapolis, MN area and are interested in becoming a volunteer mentor or would like more information about the FATHER Project and the Second Chance Mentoring Program, please contact Jay Carter at (651) 379-5867 or e-mail him at [email protected].
Goodwills around the country offer programs and services to help fathers succeed. Learn about initiatives in your area: