how Facilitators Make A Difference
As a program facilitator, it can be easy to get discouraged, feeling like you're not making a difference. But, as an InsideOut Dad™ facilitator, you are key to engaging inmates and changing their lives. Check out these four focus points for facilitators, plus this inspiring success story that one facilitator shared from his InsideOut Dad™ session.
Four Points for Facilitators
- Focus on “Powerful Points” that resonate. Each session of InsideOut Dad™ begins with the key point and objective that the dads must understand.
- Spend time talking with and getting a reaction from the group. In today’s interactive generation, I prefer to call lessons “teaching discussions.” Lessons must be interactive, and that is why InsideOut Dad™ incorporates activities to help cement the knowledge, attitudes and principles of the program.
- Teach a lesson from many points of view. This may be a little more intensive, but the benefits for the class can be extremely helpful. To look at the session from the eyes of a child or the child’s mother can, for example, help the dads to connect to the topic and main idea.
- Follow the rule of 12. This rules states that a teacher should be able to say the main point of his or her lesson in 12 words or less. Furthermore, a facilitator should explain the main point of the lesson to a 12 year-old and should interact with the group every 12 minutes.
Facilitator Success Story
A facilitator of InsideOut Dad™ in the Wisconsin State Department of Corrections recently sent us a story about a life-changing session. Wisconsin is one of the many states that have standardized InsideOut Dad™ as their fathering and parenting program of choice for incarcerated fathers.
An inmate, Steven*, came to the InsideOut Dad™ group depressed and upset about his relationship with his child. The facilitator began the session by asking the inmates to say something positive about, or an obstacle they had encountered, with their children or their family.
Steven shared that the mother of his son would not bring his son to visit him. He described a scenario that many facilitators have heard countless times: he stated that before his incarceration, he and the mother of the child ended their relationship. His son was 6-years old and he had no relationship with him.
The dads encouraged Steven to write to his son's mother. They encouraged him to tell her that he wanted to be in his son's life. They knew that he had learned the principles of the InsideOut Dad™ program, and they suggested that he communicate to the child’s mother what he had learned in the class. Most importantly, they encouraged him to communicate that he wanted to be a father to the child even while incarcerated. Mr. Johnson responded to this encouragement with a laugh. He said that their suggestion was unrealistic because his fellow inmates didn’t know his past or the mother.
The group broke for the holidays and did not get back together for two weeks. When the group met again, Steven had a grin on his face. He had done what the men had suggested and he wrote the mother. She responded and brought his son for a visit—the first time in four years that he had seen his son!
The InsideOut Dad™ program gave this father hope, and the letter was the catalyst that created a relationship with his son. The program gave this hope, however, because a facilitator knew how to teach the principles of the program. The facilitator encouraged the dads to share the changes that took place inside of them.
For more ideas and encouragement, log in to our MyFatherhood Online Community. You'll be able to share your challenges and success on our discussion boards, and connect with other facilitators across the country! Learn more.
*Name has been changed.