Joseph was faced with the prospect of never seeing his unborn son while incarcerated in the Community Alternative Center. But this father-to-be started taking the Fathers Matter (24:7 Dads) course through the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties Richland branch. Now he has a full-time job, his probation requirements have changed, and he has visitation rights with his son.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Fatherhood Initiative, 24 million children in America – one out of three – live in biological father-absent homes. And children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. CACEHR’s Fathers Matter program fosters increased involvement with children, provides parenting skills, and helps fathers to look within themselves to find ways of meeting their personal and financial goals. The class not only helps increase fathering skills, but aids in healthy interaction with mothers and helps men to become self-sufficient.

 Joseph started attending the Fathers Matters course while incarcerated and continued once he was released, with perfect attendance. “While enrolled in the Fathers Matter Class, we helped Joseph build a resume,” said Alex Norris, special projects supervisor and coordinator of the Fathers Matter program. “He was able to gain employment at a local restaurant and is still employed full-time. His probation is going to another tier and this will allow him more freedoms to pursue increased visitations with his son.”

 Joseph found the class very useful. “When I first came to 24:7 Dads I thought they were going to tell me how to be a dad, like what to do and when to do it,” Joseph said. “I never thought that they would guide me to be a great dad. Alex Norris has so much for fathers out there, to guide them and show them. Not to just tell them what to do. He gives great ideas and ways to be a great dad. It’s your choice to take it and use it. Such as, love is time being there – anyway you can – for your children, and do it the best you can. This class will help you to be better than the best.”

For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.

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