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We cannot underestimate the influence of fathers on their children. For boys, they are role models. For girls, they are relationship models.
—Ron Clark, Director of National Programming for the National Fatherhood Initiative
In 1998 Forestdale launched the Fathering Initiative, designed to help all fathers strengthen their bonds with their children and families. Today, with the support of New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development, the Fathering Initiative serves 250 fathers and their families every year.
All participants in the Fathering Initiative take a 12-week course that covers topics such as positive discipline, communication skills for co-parents and anger management. Men also receive one-on-one counseling on employment and personal financial planning. For young fathers ages 16 to 24, we offer a unique course tailored to their specific reality. Our goal is to help men become the positive and involved fathers they want to be.
For many men, our program is the first place they have truly felt a sense of belonging. Forestdale extends that sense of community through the Alumni Fathers Program, a bi-monthly support group. Program alumni are also invited to enroll in “No Drama, Much Love,” a co-parenting course that helps mothers and fathers improve their parenting partnership, regardless of whether they are still romantically involved.
The Fathering Initiative is comprised of men who have been referred to us by Family Court and those who come seeking help on their own. They face formidable challenges, including drug addiction, unemployment and depression. Most grew up without a stable male role model at home.
We refuse to allow these men to give up on themselves or their children. In 2012, 64% of our graduates increased their financial and material support to their children and their children’s mothers. We call that a win.
To learn more, please contact Program Director Scott Leach at (718)263-0740, ext. 238 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To enroll or refer someone to the program, please complete a Fathering Initiative Referral Form and email it to email@example.com.