The Father Factor

How This Organization Uses Multiple NFI Programs in a Powerful Concoction

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Aug 10, 2021


“The 24/7 Dad® Key Behaviors Workshop is a good tool to use alongside 24/7 Dad®. I use it to ‘tease’ dads into taking the more in-depth 24/7 Dad® A.M program. I offer the workshop on a weekend to dads who have attended A.M. and those who haven’t. With those nonparticipants [in 24/7 Dad®], I promote enrolling into the A.M. program.”

Using the 24/7 Dad® program A.M. version as his main ingredient, Ryan Berryman of San Bernardino Fatherhood (Highland, CA) adds the Fathering in 15™ program and the recently-released 24/7 Dad® Key Behaviors Workshop to create a powerful concoction to serve diverse dads.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan about how he combines these three NFI resources and the benefits San Bernardino Fatherhood derives from that combination.

The 15-Minute Ingredient

Ryan has facilitated 24/7 Dad® since 2017. Soon after National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) released Fathering in 15™ later that same year, Ryan subscribed to it. Fathering in 15™ is a self-paced online program that contains 15 topics each of which can be completed in about 15 minutes. Dads and staff can access it anytime, anywhere from a computer or mobile device. Ryan uses this unique program with Dads Club members in an elementary school.

“Being able to use a program where dads can take it on their own at their own pace was just the right tool for this setting. We meet once a month from 8-9 A.M. on a school day after dads drop off their child at school. Fathering in 15™ helps initiate them into learning about fatherhood. During the meeting, I have an agenda where we start talking about the importance of having a Dads Club and stuff happening in the school. Then we take 15 minutes to go through a topic—I present it on a projector plugged into my laptop—in an overview fashion. I then provide them with the link to my Fathering in 15™ website so they can go through the topic in-depth at their own pace.”

He has found Fathering in 15™ to be particularly helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What I try to do is to link a topic in Fathering in 15™ to something going on in the school or in the community. I used the Grief and Loss topic to tie into the loss experienced during COVID-19, such as family dying and the loss of children being able to go to school in-person.”

His primary use of Fathering in 15™ is, however, to support delivery of 24/7 Dad®.

“I offer 24/7 Dad® at the Salvation Army as part of their rehabilitation program for substance and alcohol abuse treatment and recovery. For a quarantined dad or a dad who misses a group session for whatever reason, I give them the hard copy of the same or similar topic in Fathering in 15 as supplement to the missed session. I also have them go through the content from that session in the 24/7 Dad® Fathering Handbook. I have them write the answers to the reflection questions in Fathering in 15™ on the hard copy of the topic to ensure that they went through the topic and gave it some thought. Then I talk with them one-on-one about that topic when they return to 24/7 Dad® sessions from quarantine or from whatever reason they missed. I have also used Fathering in 15™ as a supplement during some 24/7 Dad® group sessions.”

What Ryan likes most about Fathering in 15™ is its application with the diverse dads served by San Bernardino Fatherhood—low-income White, Latino, Black, and Pacific Islanders many of whom have no more than a high school education. He says the content is easy to understand, concise, and impactful. (For similar and additional feedback from Fathering in 15™ subscribers, click here.) And because it’s online and self-paced, it “takes away the excuses from dads that they don’t have any fathering tools they can use.”

The 8-Hour Ingredient

The 24/7 Dad® Key Behaviors Workshop is NFI’s newest offering. Released in 2020, organizations can deliver it in as little as one day. They can offer it as a stand-alone workshop or as a precursor or follow-up to 24/7 Dad® (A.M. or P.M. version).

San Bernardino Fatherhood was part of a select group of 30 organizations across the country that were among the first to offer the workshop. As with Fathering in 15™, Ryan uses the 24/7 Dad® Key Behaviors Workshop to support 24/7 Dad® but for different reasons.

“It’s a good tool to use alongside 24/7 Dad®—totally different than how I use Fathering in 15™. [The workshop] works really well with men at the Salvation Army. A lot of the philosophy in the workshop coincides with what the Salvation Army’s Buddy System emphasizes—the ‘Accountability Partner’ key behavior in the workshop. I like the [two] bonus topics, especially ‘Pay it Forward’ in the community.”

Ryan explained how the "Accountability Partner" behavior—the first and most important of the 12 key behaviors—and the "Pay it Forward" behavior tie into the Buddy System.

“When someone first enters the Salvation Army’s rehabilitation program, they are assigned a buddy who is already in the program. The buddy helps them understand initially what’s required of a new entrant in that program and offers ongoing support as the new entrant goes through the program. The buddy helps keep the new entrant ‘in check.’ Given that this program has to do with treatment, they go through a 12-step program and the 12 key behaviors connect with that, too. I really like 'Pay it Forward' because my focus is on running a community-based fatherhood initiative. I want to push the community to support fathers and for fathers to engage with the community.”

Ryan has enjoyed hearing from dads about the impact the workshop has had on them. One dad who completed the workshop told Ryan, for example, that this dad’s wife asked him “Are you the same guy?” (For a summary of feedback from facilitators of the workshop and dads who have completed it, click here.)

I continue to be amazed at how organizations combine NFI’s programs and other resources for maximum impact. San Bernardino Fatherhood’s example is a case in point.

Have you thought about creative ways in which to combine NFI’s programs and other resources for maximum impact in your delivery setting and community?

Are you aware of how NFI’s resources, training, and technical assistance support our core fatherhood programs?

To help you answer both questions, click here to access our cool interactive infographic.

Learn more about the Father Engagement Academy by National Fatherhood Initiative

Topics: Featured, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, 24/7 Dad, Fathering in 15™, State & Local Agencies, Tips for Success, 24/7 Dad Key Behaviors Workshop

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