This article was originally published at the Operation New Hope blog. It is republished here with permission.
In anticipation of Second Chance Month, we are pleased to celebrate the dads at Lawtey Correctional Institution who are working hard to make the most of their second chances by learning how to be better fathers. Operation New Hope’s Ready4Release Manager Ronnie Cage was onsite at the prison to celebrate the men who successfully completed the InsideOut Dad program. Also in attendance were the Warden, Assistant Warden, Senior Classification Officer, Chaplain, and Lieutenant, among others.
After the Warden and Chaplain addressed the graduating class, Cage ended by speaking with the fathers about the importance of putting into action what they learned during the 11-week course. Cage also shared two inspirational quotes for the fathers to keep in their “toolbox.”
“When facing obstacles, you have to decide if you're going to let them be the excuse for your failure, or if you're going to make them the story behind your success."
“Don't dwell on the past, but don't be afraid to examine it either."
National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) developed the first edition of the InsideOut Dad® program in 2005 to address a gap in quality fatherhood programs with proven effectiveness that help incarcerated fathers to become better dads while on the inside and, for those fathers who will be released, that help continue their growth as dads when they’re on the outside.
NFI developed the InsideOut Dad® program based on a philosophy that supports the growth and development of fathers and children as caring, compassionate people who treat themselves, others, and the environment with respect and dignity. This philosophical basis of caring and compassion forms the underlying structure that constitutes the values that are taught in the InsideOut Dad® program.
Operation New Hope has been delivering the InsideOut Dad® program inside correctional facilities since 2014 as part of our mission to break the cycle of generational incarceration. Ronnie Cage works with incarcerated fathers to help foster the skills needed to be effective fathers preparing them for their eventual release and reunification. Cage is excited to report that the InsideOut Dad® program is such a big hit at Lawtey Correctional Facility that they have over 110 guys on the waiting list!
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, our Ready4Release team continues to provide face-to-face services at facilities across North Florida and is working on securing access to more facilities to prepare more returning citizens. We would like to thank our partners at the Florida Department of Corrections for working with us to help facilitate a smooth transition back into the community.
Learn more about our Ready4Release program here. We also invite you to join us in celebrating Second Chance Month this April – a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, and unlock second-chance opportunities for people who have completed their sentences to become contributing citizens. Follow our stories spotlighting second chances all month long. #SecondChanceMonth