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Preparing Teens for Fatherhood with Boyz2Dads

The following is a guest post by Shawn O'Keefe, Youth Programs Specialist for Newport News Department of Human Services. If you would like to guest blog for us, email here.

As a Youth Program Specialist, it is my job to provide prevention, education, leadership, and youth development programming and opportunities to young people in the middle and high school age range.boyz2dads blog pic

One of the curricula I researched was the Boyz2Dads™ program, which I have been using now for the last three years. I like the Boyz2Dads™ program for many reasons:

  • It has a pregnancy prevention component focused on young boys instead of girls
  • It is computer based
  • It allows for discussion about the roles/responsibilities of fathers, as well as the characteristics that make good fathers

I have had the opportunity to implement the program several different ways and in various venues. I have facilitated the program in a high school, at a Boys and Girls Club, a middle school summer enrichment program, and inside the city’s Juvenile Detention Facility. Through trial and error, I have found that the best practices for the most effective implementation of Boyz2Dads is for the group to be limited to no more than 10-15 participants; individual access to a computer; headphones for each participant; and scheduling the program in six 45 minute to one hour sessions once per week.

Interestingly, I have had the most success with the young men in the city’s Juvenile Detention Facility, which was really a big surprise. I thought of any of the young men I was working with that this group would think the program was “whack” or “corny” or just a waste of time. I have found quite the opposite. These young men don’t want to wait for me to come back the following week to complete the next level-they want to complete all six levels that day! They say, “The graphics aren’t as good as the Playstation or XBOX games, but the levels are interesting” and they love the discussion afterwards. That’s right…a group of 10-15 teen boys that I sometimes have a hard time getting to shut up!

As a single father of two sons, it is a joy for me to see these young men I work with start to redefine what it means to be a dad and a man.  You hear them say things such as, “When I’m a dad, I’m gonna make sure my kids know I love them,” or, “I used to think it was gay for a man to kiss another man, but if you really love your dad or son, there’s nothing wrong with kissing them,” and, “My kids might not get everything they want, but I’m going to be there for them and spend time with them.” 

One of our funding sources was impressed with the work I was doing with the young men and the Boyz2Dads program. He had been reading my reports and wanted to know exactly how and what I was doing. After speaking to my Supervisor and her telling him that I have impacted 170 young men who have all shown an increase in the knowledge of the impact fathers have on their children and families and what characteristics make a good father, he asked, “How would you like some more money so you can offer some more fatherhood programs?” 

WHAT!??! More money to make more of an impact!? You know we said, "YES"!

Photo credit here.

Fit2Father is Around the Corner!



In September, NFI will be launching its nationally recognized Fit2Father program. This is a six week online program to help dads connect to their kids through fitness. Healthy fathers create healthy families and Fit2Father helps dads to achieve just that!



Here are three steps that you can take to get Fit2Father-



1. Take the Pledge to get Fit2Father

When you take the pledge you will receive a weekly email in your inbox with helpful tips to get your family connected and get you Fit2Father. Take the pledge!



2. Register to Host a Fit1Father walk in your area!

Raise awareness of the importance of fatherhood in your community and earn helpful fatherhood resources for your local organization when you register to host a walk. Learn more here.



3. Get walking!

Find a Fit2Father walk in your community, or join us in Washington DC on October 16th as we walk for fatherhood in the Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause! Register today!



If there are any questions about Fit2Father, email Brittany DeFrehn at bdefrehn@fatherhood.org









The Ones that Should Never Get Away...

At NFI, July’s theme is "The Great Outdoors," with the tagline Get Out: Hit the Great Outdoors with Your Kids this Summer. With this in mind, I was reminded of a compelling commercial by Zebco, a leading provider of fishing tackle. It's titled “Don’t let your kids be the the ones that get away." (Check it out here.)

What a powerful reminder to all dads this summer that life is not so much about what you do, but rather, it's about who you’re with, the memories and the relationships that are formed and strengthened.

NFI and Supporters Race to End Father Absence

This past Sunday, NFI participated in the Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause 8k as the culmination of our fit2father campaign, a six-week initiative designed to help fathers and their families live healthier lifestyles. Fathers and families from around the country took the fit2father pledge and the Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause allowed D.C. fit2father participants the opportunity to show their support for NFI and the issue of involved fatherhood!

From NFI staff and family, to local runners, and DC-area supporters, the NFI team had a strong presence. Daddy bloggers like Matt from DC Urban Dad also joined the NFI team as we raced to end father absence.



Acumen Managing Director and NFI Board Member, Andy Schoka, connected NFI to this opportunity. “This year’s Race for a Cause event was our best yet and Acumen Solutions is thrilled to have the NFI participate as one of our benefiting non-profit partners," said Shocka. "The 8K race was challenging and the 1 mile fun run was perfect for families and really aligns well with the NFI’s fit2father message. I’m incredibly thankful for the difference the NFI is making and I’m pleased with the opportunity for Acumen Solutions to help contribute to the NFI’s mission for years to come.”

Missed out on fit2father? Stay tuned! We'll be launching our next opportunity for to get involved in one week!

What's Happening Here at NFI

August is a busy month - people are cramming in their last vacations and kids are going back to school. Here at NFI, we've got lots going on as well - including some easy (and fun!) ways that you can join our movement to end father absence. Check it out:

Walk/Run with Your Family
Bring your family and join the NFI team for the Acumen Solutions One Mile Family Fun Run on October 17 in Arlington, VA. It only costs $25 to register and the registration fee benefits NFI! Learn more/sign up today.

Not in DC, but want to get involved and organize a walk in your area? Fill out this form and we'll send you info for starting your own local walk.

Attend our 24/7 Dad and InsideOut Dad Training
Since 2002, we've trained over 3,000 organizations in all fifty states to provide helpful programs and classes for fathers. On September 15-16, we're hosting our annual training in Germantown, MD (right outside of D.C.).

Check out how you/an organization in your community can get trained and educate dads at www.fatherhood.org/2010training.

Vote for Our Pepsi Refresh Project
We're in the running for $250,000 to support military families, but we can't do it without your votes. Click here to vote today (and please vote for our alliance partners, too!).

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