The 25th Annual Caliber Awards
Jumanne Bradford, Executive Director of Talbot Mentors attending the Talbot County Detention Center’s Inside Out Dad class.
Director Bradford discussed with the dads the importance of Mentoring. Mentors help improve self worth and reenforces positive social and cultural norms.
Easton Teen Dad Group
Corey Pack was the featured speaker at the Better Fathers, Better Future men's Conference at the New Walk Community Church in Chester, MD on Saturday, February 18th, 2023. Pastor Michael Wyche hosted the event.
Today in America, the U.S. Census reports that 19.7 million children (1 in 4) live without a responsible father in the home. A child who grows up in a home without a father is four times more likely to live in poverty, more likely to have behavior problems, more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, two times more likely to drop out of high school, more likely to commit a crime, and more likely to go to prison.
To address these problems, the Responsible Fathers Initiative (RFI) works with both incarcerated fathers and men in the community assisting them in being more nurturing fathers and more supportive partners. The program operates in Talbot and Dorchester counties, with classes held in Easton, Cambridge, and St. Michaels, and has helped about 20 men and women this past year. In addition to adult groups, the program also runs a Teen Dad group on Mondays at Cambridge – South Dorchester County High School, in partnership with Washington College. The jail classes – the Inside Out Dad and Understanding Dad for Moms are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All RFI classes use an evidence-based curriculum created by the National Fathers Initiative (NFI).
Corey Pack (left), Founder and Lead Facilitator of the Responsible Fathers Initiative; Dawn Phillips, 2 Gen/Whole Family Case Manager, Neighborhood Service Center; Responsible Fathers Initiative participants Brandon Rhodes, Willie Beasley, and Leonard Palmer; and Lou Dorsey, Co-Facilitator of the Responsible Fathers Initiative.
“In late 2019, I was asked to take over the Responsible Fatherhood classes held at the Talbot County Detention Center. I accepted the offer with the understanding of the important role fathers play in the life of their children,” comments Corey Pack, Founder and Lead Facilitator of the Responsible Fathers Initiative.
The curriculum for the program is called 24/7 Dad and it was developed by the National Fatherhood Initiative. Both Lou Dorsey and Corey Pack were trained in the 24/7 Dad curriculum that is being taught in 24 jurisdictions in the state. The main mission of the program is to address poverty in the community.
According to Corey, fathers account for 60% of household income. He adds, “So if you’ve removed a dad from the home, you can see that’s a significant loss of income down that the mom or the caregiver have to try to supplement. So, what we try to do is to give the men some encouragement and go through these 12 sessions with them, building their relationships with others, building their self-awareness of who they are, developing better communication skills, learning how to discipline their children and how to better work with their partner.”
He adds that research has shown that for men who are in the criminal justice system and who are involved in fatherhood programs along with wraparound services, there is a 34% reduction in recidivism rates. The other wraparound services help support success through housing and employment.
“We are trying to assist incarcerated people and increase their success when they return to their communities and their families,” he adds.
Lou Dorsey, Co-Facilitator of the Responsible Fathers Initiative with Corey, adds, “We work on five character traits throughout the 12 sessions: self-awareness, caring for self, fathering skills, parenting skills, and relationship skills. Blood makes us relatives, but relationships make us family.”
Dawn Phillips, 2 Gen (Generations)/Whole Family Case Manager, Neighborhood Service Center, Inc. comments, “We identify and encourage fathers to participate in the program. The 2Gen approach focuses on the belief that families deserve to be supported, addressing the major components of education, poverty, and all-around wellness – addressing the barriers and needs, to help families become self-sufficient.”
“We step in with case management support to figure out what everyone in the household needs to become self-sufficient. For some it’s education, for some it’s new jobs, and for others it’s housing. We address those needs and barriers, and the Responsible Fathers Program falls in line because we know the importance of having the father a part of the household. It’s about helping fathers and men of all ages make connections with their families and break the cycles and habits of their families that have led to the fathers being absent.”
Wraparound services are offered beginning with the Neighborhood Service Center’s in-house services such as food pantry, emergency services, energy assistance, and more.
According to NSC’s Executive Director, Marilyn M. Neal, “NSC partners with the Maryland Community Action Partnership (MCAP), which funds $50,000 to NSC as its sub-grantee for the 2 GEN/Whole Families Program; however, the program costs exceed the granted amount. Moreover, NSC’s Community Service Block Grant-Discretionary Grant, which funds services for NSC’s Responsible Fathers Program, ended in Fiscal Year 2022. NSC will continue to advocate throughout Maryland, working with its partners and community donors to further sustain these very critical programs in Talbot County as we continue to move families to self-sufficiency.”
For participant Willie Beasley of Easton, learning to be a productive role model to his children and grandchildren is what he has learned most. He adds, “I’m more of a father now. This class has taught me patience. Now, my son calls me and asks me for help. I feel different about myself and carry myself differently.”
Leonard Palmer of Easton came to the program with different goals. Although not a father yet, he wanted to learn how to be a better father in general and learn how to handle certain situations. He states, “I want to be a better father than what I came up with and teach them right from wrong. This has been new information for me.”
A new member of the group, Brandon Rhodes of Easton joined to get insight into how to raise his three children, ages 15, 12, and six. He comments, “My kids motivate me for everything. I grew up without a dad. My parents did the best they could. I’ve been married for five years. I didn’t know what men are supposed to do in a relationship, so I am still learning things. I have just come here for help in learning how to be a man. You’re genuinely putting me in a position to be the best man I could be.”
Corey reflects, “After looking at the data on absent fathers, I knew that this is where I belong, working to help men realize their full potential and their importance to their families. So, we recently started the non-profit, Responsible Fathers Initiative (RFI). The need for wrap-around social and economic services is critical to our mission.”
The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative works collaboratively with various community partners such as the Neighborhood Service Center, Delmarva Community Services, St. Michaels Community Center, Washington College, Provident State Bank, Health Departments, Chesapeake College, Legal Aid, Workforce Investment Board, and the YMCA of the Chesapeake; thereby giving each father his best chance for success.
Donations for the Responsible Fathers Initiative are needed for gap funds to help with intermediate bills for the men, such as cell phones, transportation, and clothing. Donations can be made online using the website responsiblefathersinitiative.org or by check payable to Responsible Fathers Initiative, 331 Laurel Street, Easton, Maryland 21601. Visit responsiblefathersinitiative.org for further information.
From the Talbot Spy, 10/5/2022
Convergence. It happens all the time on the Mid-Shore. A random encounter of leaders of different organizations at a reception or public meeting, and they begin to trade notes on what each other’s group is doing. By the end of the conversation, there is a mutual agreement to work together on a project.
That happened recently when Talbot County Council member Corey Pack ran into Washington College professor Joseph Prud’homme and started to chat about Corey’s Responsible Fathers Initiative and Joseph’s community outreach programs of WC’s Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture.
The Spy sat down with Corey and Joseph a few weeks ago to hear more.
This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Responsible Fathers Initiative please go here. For information about Washington College’s Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture please go here.
National Fatherhood Initiative 24/7 Dad® program being used to connect fathers to their children
(ST. MICHAELS, MD – July 7, 2022) The St. Michaels Community Center is helping fathers get the skills they need to be involved in their children’s lives by sponsoring the National Fatherhood Initiative’s 24/7 Dad® program beginning this August.
The free program is being facilitated by the Responsible Fathers Initiative, with limited participation and pre-registration needed.
A 13-session workshop begins at SMCC on August 2 and continues Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. through December 13, with a light meal provided for participants. The program will give dads the parenting, relationship, and communication skills they need to be involved, responsible, and committed fathers.
“This program will help strengthen our local families and our entire community by helping our fathers be the best dads they can be,” said SMCC Executive Director Patrick Rofe. “This also serves at the core of the Community Center’s mission in serving, empowering, and connecting people in our community.”
Developed by fathering and parenting experts, 24/7 Dad® focuses on the characteristics that men need to be involved fathers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This community-based program helps men develop the attitudes, knowledge, and skills they need to get—and stay—involved with their children. 24/7 Dad® focuses on key fathering characteristics—like masculinity, discipline, and work/family balance—and helps men evaluate their own parenting skills, as well as their fathering role models.
“Now more than ever the America family needs to be pulled back together and that cohesive and binding force is found in no other place but the commitments of a nurturing and responsible father,” said Responsible Fathers Initiative Lead Facilitator Corey W. Pack. “I am excited to work with SMCC in their efforts to strengthen families in the Bay Hundred area.
“While no one program can solve all the shortfalls a family may be facing, combining the stabilizing and regenerating curriculum of NFI with the economic and social programs offered by SMCC, these families are off to a promising start to being restored and complete.”
Pack founded the Responsible Fathers Initiative in 2020 after a career working with the State of Maryland and while serving as Talbot County Councilman. The Initiative provides communication and engagement skills and provides fathers with an understanding of the importance of their roles in the family while providing the skills and tools needed to empower fathers to be the best they can be. More is at www.responsiblefathersintiative.org.
“NFI is excited about the St. Michaels Community Center’s efforts to help fathers build their skills through the 24/7 Dad® program,” said President of National Fatherhood Initiative President Christopher Brown. “Research shows that a major barrier to father involvement is a lack of skills in dads, many of whom grew up without fathers in their lives. At a time when 1 in 3 children live in father-absent homes, the Community Center should be applauded for its efforts to help dads get involved.”
The National Fatherhood Initiative was founded in 1994 as a premier provider of fatherhood resources in the nation. The Initiative has trained more than 25,000 practitioners from more than 6,300 organizations through its national resource center FatherSOURCE™, in delivering meaningful programming to dads, with more at www.fatherhood.org.
For more information or to enroll in the program, contact SMCC Executive Director Patrick Rofe at 410-745-6073 or at email@example.com.