Following on my post from Tuesday, I recently completed a round of interviews with 14 organizations that have subscribed to Fathering in 15™. Of these, 11 serve dads in the U.S., two serve dads in Canada, and one serves dads in Australia.
As a reminder, Fathering in 15™ was launched by National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) in September 2017. It’s an interactive, web-based, and subscription-based resource/program that helps organizations build the fathering knowledge and skills of dads anywhere, anytime.
I will continue in this post with two more organizations who have found Fathering in 15™ to be a hit for the families they serve. These “case studies” can help you visualize how this unique tool could fit into your family programs lineup!
West Virginia Healthy Start: Reaching Rural Dads Through Home Visits
West Virginia Healthy Start in Morgantown, WV uses Fathering in 15™ to reach rural dads through a partnership with a home visiting program. Operated by the School of Medicine at West Virginia University, it is the only federal Healthy Start program in the state. It serves families in eight rural counties.
Staff engage expectant parents during home visits and continue those visits until children reach the age of two. Staff do their best to engage dads during these visits but have found it a challenge. So, they conducted interviews with some dads to gauge their interest in being involved in visits and how best to involve them. They learned that dads want to be involved but that they needed father-specific materials and resources—something just for them. When Healthy Start learned about Fathering in 15™, they saw that it would be an ideal resource because it’s so affordable for the organization and convenient for staff and dads. They realized that dads could use it during home visits and access it afterward. Even dads who couldn’t attend a home visit could access it.
Healthy Start decided to enroll dads in Fathering in 15™ so they could track, for grant reporting purposes, how many dads use it. When they enroll dads, they give them two options for completing it.
- Dads can complete the program online using their computer, smartphone, or other mobile device.
- Dads can complete it via the printed topic option.
That’s right. Fathering in 15™ includes an option for dads or staff to print off the topics. The reason Healthy Start provides this option is because Internet access is spotty in some rural areas. Moreover, dads sometimes lose their ability to use a computer, smartphone, or other mobile device for failure to pay their Internet or mobile phone bill. If a dad chooses this option, the home visitor gives the dads a printed copy of each topic.
Regardless of which option dads choose, when they complete the program they receive their Fathering in 15™ Certificate of Completion and take the Fathering in 15™ Post-Survey. Dads also complete a second post-survey that’s unique to Healthy Start. To incent the dads to complete the surveys, Healthy Start gives them a $25 Walmart gift card after they complete each one.
The L.A.S.E.R Project: Reaching Dads Through Schools
The L.A.S.E.R. Project in Indianapolis, IN is a youth-focused organization that addresses bullying and suicide prevention, anger management, and conflict resolution. The primary focus of the organization is on mentoring youth. L.A.S.E.R. stands for “Literacy Arts Skills Empowerment Recreation.”
In September 2017 the organization started to host a “Dads and Donuts” event every weekend. They alternate weekends (a Friday night and a Saturday morning) between two locations, a local restaurant and a recreation center. They recruit dads primarily through high schools. Dads and their teen sons attend the event. In some cases, a father figure who mentors a teen boy will attend with his mentee.
When the L.A.S.E.R. Project learned about Fathering in 15™, they realized that it would be an ideal resource for this event because it provides just enough content to move quickly through each topic. Moreover, the engaging nature of the content keeps dads’ attention. Staff projects Fathering in 15™ onto a screen so that all of the attendees can go through the topics together. They use one topic per event. They print out each topic for use as a handout. They use the questions in the “What to Ask” section to generate discussion among the attendees. And they ask dads to write their own answers to the questions on the handout. Staff shared that the topic that has had the most impact is on intimacy. It opens the eyes of dads and youth to see intimacy as more than just sex.
To track dads’ progress through Fathering in 15™, staff uses a sign in sheet for each event and keeps a folder for each dad. When dads complete a topic, they simply turn in their handouts. Staff places the handouts in each dad’s respective folder. After dads complete each of the 15 topics, staff print out their Fathering in 15™ Certificate of Completion.
Join the More Than 50 Organizations That Use Fathering in 15™
We’re so delighted that so many organizations have already discovered the value of Fathering in 15™ for their staff and the dads they serve. I encourage you to join this growing list of forward-thinking organizations!
How can your organization benefit from incorporating Fathering in 15™ into your programs and services?