‘Dads Making a Difference’ Program Expands to Jobs + Education
Friday, June 15, 2012
Children's Friend, the Providence-based nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable children, is expanding its Dads Making a Difference Program (DMAD) to help dads be better prepared for the job market and thus more confident fathers and positive role models. Thanks to two federal grants, Children's Friend will now have the ability to help dads with education, training and job placements over the next three years.
Dads Making a Difference
Currently, the Dads Making a Difference program provides home visits and group services that give men encouragement, guidance and education on childhood development, family-friendly routines and age-appropriate discipline, as well as ideas for fun ways to interact and play with their children. According to Children's Friend, research published in the April 2011 issue of Family Science has found that this type of positive involvement can promote children’s early development and school readiness skills among families living in poverty.
According to David Caprio, president and CEO of Children's Friend, DMAD began in the mid 1990s. "We started planning a program that would benefit fathers, to complete our mission to help vulnerable children," Caprio said. "Dads play an invaluable role in a child’s life, so having them around is critical for a child to develop into a productive adult."
A 1995 "fatherhood initiative" combined the efforts of a number of local organizations under an umbrella Father and Family Network of Rhode Island. "Many fathers aren’t around for their children due to conflicts with the mother," said Caprio, "so the main purpose of this initiative was to reconcile mothers and fathers in estranged relationships, bringing the father back into a more prominent role in the child’s life."
Walking the walk
While the Dads Making a Difference prepares to expand its programming, the whole community is invited to get out on Father's Day weekend and support the cause. This Saturday morning, June 16, Children's Friend will be celebrating the expansion of the Dads Making a Difference program at its Annual 5k Run/Walk at Roger Williams Park Carousel Village.
Cullen Miller, who will be participating in the walk this weekend, said he has benefitted from weekly home visits through the DMAD program. "“The weekly home visits with my worker have helped how I interact with my kids. They’ve been a huge help."
For more information on the walk, go here.
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