News & Events

We Want to Empower Dads!

Solidifying a prominent place for dads in families is one of our goals. When fathers play an active role in their children’s lives, they gain greater verbal skills, patience, and intellectual functioning. This is true even if the father does not live with his children.

Across Rising Ground programs, this can mean helping fathers  regain custody of their children, learn how to co-parent, or engage with their children's Early Head Start class. Fathers play a huge role in their children's success. 

But some dads who face adversity and live in poverty often lose touch with their children, according to Reginald Mitchell, who leads Rising Ground’s Fatherhood Initiative. “They may be on bad terms with their children’s guardian or ashamed that they are unemployed or homeless. They may come to us after they’ve been removed from the home by authorities and feel that they’ve failed as a father,” Mr. Mitchell says.

The Fatherhood Initiative helps fathers who have lost custody of their children to develop parenting and co-parenting skills, make positive changes in their lives, and learn to advocate for themselves to regain their parental rights.

Recently, Mr. Mitchell sat down with George Bodarky, host of Community Dialogues on WFUV, to talk about how the Fatherhood Initiative empowers fathers to become the dads they want to be — loved and respected by their children.

Here are some of the key takeaways with comments by Mr. Mitchell from the interview. conversation. Click here to listen to the full 20-minute conversation..

• “The nucleus of the program is reconnecting the fathers to raise their parental awareness overall, and at the end of the day, we're trying to give them some healthy habits to co-parent better and to have a fatherly approach.”

• The work is emotional. “I've had dads cry and bawl in front of me,” Mr. Mitchell says. The program allows men to process feelings of shame for not being there for their children. They are able to move past that so they are ready to become a “provider, protector, nurturer.”

• Fathers who’ve been through the program, found employment, and reconnected with their children come back to show new fathers that they can change for the better. “People don't believe that things will work in their favor. You know the old cliché. If you see somebody you respect do it or somebody who you know do it, you most likely know that it can work for you.”