As we head into the holiday season, we often think about excited children, gift giving, and a season of joy, goodwill, and hope. (We all could use some of that this year!)
Speaking of giving, there are a number of free gifts that NFI offers all year long, so I think now is a good time to remind you of them!
In my role as Program Implementation Specialist, I’m on the frontlines to answer questions via phone, email, or even live chat on fatherhood.org and fathersource.org. In my responses to various inquiries, I’m able to utilize the many “gifts” NFI has equipped me with to share with our partners. Below are a few examples of the types of inquiries that I receive, and the “gift” I share in those correspondences. It’s interesting to note how often I share the gift of our FatherSource™ Program Locator Map in all of these scenarios!
Starting a Fatherhood Program
Often, I will hear from someone who wants to start a fatherhood program. They seem to understand the negative issues in their communities boil down to fractured families, aka, father absent homes. They have an idea of how to help and many seem to have a passion to do so, but are not sure where to start. I am happy to show them that NFI has a number of great resources, mostly free “gifts” to review as they consider what their particular niche might be in their community.
Most often, I point them to our “Getting Started” Page, where they can sign up for our Father Factor Blog notifications, and consider joining our Online Learning Community, a discussion board joined by hundreds of fatherhood practitioners sharing pain points, ideas, and solutions. It also includes downloadable eBooks like 7 Steps to Starting a Successful Fatherhood Program and an extremely helpful tool for organizations wanting to serve fathers, the Father Friendly Check-Up™.
As some of these resources will suggest, it is key to discover what is already being offered to fathers in your community (don’t reinvent the wheel, so to speak) so in comes our favorite tool, the FatherSource™ Program Locator Map. This map allows practitioners and organizations to search their community and surrounding areas to find organizations that may already be serving fathers. The ones they find could give insight to begin serving dads or become partners in their mission.
Dads Who Need Help
There are many dads who are desperate for help. I hear stories of disenfranchised fathers who are trying to see their children, catch up on child support, have other financial and legal issues, or face numerous barriers (employment, courts, the mother of their children, etc.). Sadly, I have to explain that NFI does not give legal advice nor do we work directly with fathers, but we work with organizations that do.
For legal matters, I will refer to a national organization called Parent Help who can offer some direction on such matters, but then I refer them to our Fatherhood Program Locator Map to reach out to our partner organizations or agencies (like yours) that may offer programs, resources, and support to them.
You! Fatherhood Practitioners
I mostly hear from partners like you looking for father involvement information, training opportunities, recruitment and retention ideas, funding opportunities, virtual training tips, and so much more! Many are still not aware of our free resources from the Resource Library on fatherhood.org. For example, we have supportive resources for each specific curriculum (24/7 Dad®, InsideOut Dad®, Understanding Dad™). Our eBooks, recorded webinars, research, and infographics are also there!
Further, we offer an excellent webpage with Father Facts and a page on Recruitment & Retention strategies for dads in your programs. We even offer a helpful Program Delivery Guide for during COVID-19.
Finally, the Fatherhood Program Locator Map can be helpful if a dad in your program is moving to another area; you can check the area he is moving to for an organization that would offer supportive programs, resources and support.
I encourage you to check out all these free gifts we offer! And make sure you are receiving the FatherSource™ eNewsletter, as this is the best way to stay on top of announcements, new products, and other important opportunities from National Fatherhood Initiative®.
I hope you enjoy these "gifts"! Happy Holidays and wishes for a Happy New Year.