The Power of Peer Facilitators
InsideOut Dad™ practitioner Ken Hovis (Missouri Department of Corrections) shares that enlisting one of the dads who completed their program has been a significant boost for the efficacy of his program. Having a Peer Facilitator (PF) whom the men see as “one of their own” has raised the level of participation and interest in the InsideOut Dad™ program well beyond the classroom walls. Hovis states that men who participate in the class do so at the expense of personal time they could be spending outdoors on the yard or working out in the gym.
When asked how he selected a PF from among the guys in the program, Ken gave the following criteria:
- One who has children (not a requirement for participation at Mr. Hovis’ facility)
- Has completed the course (without interruption)
- Someone who carries himself maturely
- Well-respected among prison staff and inmates
- No (or no significant) rule infractions/violations within the last 12 months
- One who articulates his thoughts and feelings well (not perfectly)
- Opens himself to the group, without dominating discussions
- Offers his ideas
- Promotes positive, meaningful dialogue
Mr. Hovis said he began observing which guys in the class “stood out” in these ways. Once the class ended, he next gave the PF opportunity to return to the class and give his testimony to the personal and family value of investing himself in this curriculum. From the time “newbies” arrive, the PF is recruiting men to get involved in InsideOut Dad™. The list of men wanting to participate to learn how to be better dads shows no sign of decline.
Additionally, one of the Missouri Gang Task Force officers running a drug treatment program heard and saw the impact of InsideOut Dad™ on prisoners who’d completed it. He then decided to visit Mr. Hovis’ class (all twelve sessions) to verify what he’d heard and came away thoroughly impressed with InsideOut Dad™ and the direct effect Mr. Hovis’ implementation had on the men. He has started to use the curriculum to augment his work with men in the substance abuse abatement program.
Peer facilitators can be a great asset for your InsideOut Dad program. During your next class, keep your eye out for one and watch your program grow!