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24/7 Dad® & "Wrap Around" Services - So Happy Together

Posted by Melissa Steward

Recently, Catholic Charities’ Asylum Hill Family Center was featured in the Catholic Transcript Online - the Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut. And guess what? They've used NFI's 24/7 Dad® group-based program to reach over 600 dads that have come through their doors over the last 2 years.

But they don't just offer the 24/7 Dad® fathering program - they offer other "wrap around" services to residents such as parenting skills, advocacy/empowerment, job training and support, homeownership training, money management/budgeting classes, and more. 

You see, 24/7 Dad® and wrap around services are so happy together (are you humming The Turtles song yet?)

According to NFI's Director of Program Support Services, Michael Yudt, "The 24/7 Dad® program is an ideal compliment to wrap around services such as job training, support, and financial literacy because the program speaks to WHY men do what they do. Fatherhood can provide men with a greater context and purpose for life, and when you tap into that, you can make significant in-roads in the other service areas as well."

Michael continues, "Motivating men to care more about their children is a great way to capture the heart of a man, and 24/7 Dad® does just that."

Kyle Parrish stands next to NFI's fatherhood poster.

Speaking of motivation, the Catholic Transcript article features Kyle Parrish (pictured right) not yet 21 years old, in a relationship, and father to a son who's just barely a year old. Due to an injury on the job, bills and stress mounted as he waited on a Workmen’s Compensation settlement. One day, he walked into a store in the same building as the Asylum Hill Family Center, and began talking with one of the center's Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood program representatives. A year later, Parrish had participated in the center's 24/7 Dad® program, and other services, and says he feels like a new man.

Quoting the article:

"We went from talking about my situation to him saying he might be willing to help me but at the same time, I had to be willing to help myself," Mr. Parrish said. "I had to partake in it; otherwise [my situation] wasn’t going to change."

Lois Nesci, CEO of Catholic Charities, said the program began about two years ago because fathers were an underserved segment of the population. "As they’ve [fathers] developed the skills for employment, their self-confidence increases," she said.

"Although they were somewhat involved in the lives of their children, they recognized, and we recognized, that they needed to learn better parenting skills," Ms. Nesci said. "They needed to learn ways to be more engaged with their children and their families and to develop the resources in order to become more self-sufficient. In addition to parenting skills, we also provide them with classes in financial literacy and also help them build their employment skills."

And that's great news because according to Mr. Parrish, the 24/7 Dad® fatherhood program has helped him:

  • In his relationship with his son’s mother - to show her that he's doing something constructive to be a better father. 
  • Learn how to better interact with women, and their expectations. 
  • Understand the demands and responsibility of being a father -- that it's more than just providing financially and picking up the child from school, etc. 
  • Learn to take care of himself and be healthy so that he can physically be there for his child.
Fathers can learn all this and and more through the 24/7 Dad® program. In fact, NFI Staff has worked with thousands of community based organizations who provide services to their neighbors in the community, and include 24/7 Dad®. Some common organizational implementations are:
  • Pregnancy Care Centers
  • Recovery Centers
  • Transitional Housing/Reentry Efforts
  • Rescue Missions
  • Workforce Development Organizations
  • Head Start / Early Childhood Development Programs
  • Community Action Agencies
  • Social Service Agencies / DHHS Program
Sound Off: How is your organization incorporating 24/7 Dad® into its wrap-around services? Why does it work for you?
Image credit: The Catholic Transcript Online

Topics: 24/7 Dad, Catholic Charities, Catholic Charities programs, fatherhood program and services, wrap around services, program success stories, fatherhood program tips

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