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Corey Pack interviewed on Delmarva Life 


Responsible Fathers Initiative empowers, strengthens men


EASTON — In late 2021, Ja’Shaun Wilson had a son on the way.

At the time, Wilson, now 31, was incarcerated at the Talbot County Detention Center.

Already thinking ahead, he recalled wanting to try to figure out how to adapt to being a first-time father before he was released.

That’s when he decided to participate in Inside Out Dad, a Responsible Fathers Initiative group held inside the jail.

“... I never really had any strong role models,” he said. “So I just figured, what could it hurt by taking the class?”

To Wilson’s surprise, the group’s curriculum did more than just talk about fatherhood — it prompted him to reflect on himself more deeply and gave him the tools he needed to move forward when he reentered the community, ready to meet his son and be the role model he didn’t have himself.

RESPONSIBLE FATHERS, Founded by Corey Pack in 2019, the Responsible Fathers Initiative is a local nonprofit committed to helping enlighten men to the impact fathers have on a family and better prepare them for the duties and responsibilities of fatherhood.

The curriculum it uses was developed by the National Fatherhood Initiative, a broader nonprofit that offers evidence-based fatherhood programs, resources, training and more in an effort to increase fathers’ involvement.

Inspiration for the local initiative began when Pack was asked to help out with an existing fathers’ group in the detention center in 2019.

Pack is no stranger to fatherhood programming. In the mid-2000s, he headed a group in Cambridge for several years before turning his attention to local government, serving on the Talbot County Council for 15 years.

But still, a “burning desire” to get back into it lingered, he said, and his second chance came at just the right time.

“I think God knew my heart. He knew this was something I really wanted to get back into doing,” he said.

The data behind a father’s impact on a family was a motivator for Pack.

Pack said children born in a household without a responsible father are more likely to live in poverty, suffer from abuse or neglect, drop out of school, become involved with drugs and alcohol, and be involved with the criminal justice system.

“...The numbers are telling us (that) when we boil it all down, between race and region and religion and culture, it comes back to the family,” he said. “When the family unit starts to crumble apart, then you see these other ills pop up in our society.”

Pack started facilitating in-person groups for men in the detention center in 2019 and initiated a women’s group, too, though the pandemic’s arrival in 2020 hampered some progress.

With the help of Talbot County’s IT department and the Department of Social Services, Pack pivoted into running all-virtual classes for men and women at the detention center throughout the year — a feat no other county in the state was able to do, he said.

Since then, the initiative has grown. Now, it includes three in-person groups inside the detention center, two for men and one for women, along with two community-based men’s groups and two teen dads’ groups, both of which are held in Easton and Cambridge.

Though the curriculums provided by the national initiative help with the lessons learned in groups, the Responsible Fathers Initiative leans on community partners to flesh out its offerings even more.

The Neighborhood Service Center in Easton, Delmarva Community Services, YMCA of the Chesapeake, the Talbot County Department of Social Services, the St. Michaels Community Center and Washington College, among others, are just some of those key partnerships.

“It would not work, cannot work, without the partnerships, without that synergy,” Pack said. “The sum is greater than its parts.”

HELP ON OUTSIDE Those partnerships with other community organizations and county agencies play a significant role in helping the Responsible Fathers Initiative’s mission.

The fatherhood piece of the initiative aligned well with the Neighborhood Service Center’s existing 2Gen program, which provides resources to support the whole family in an effort to increase self-sufficiency and break generational poverty cycles, said Dawn Phillips, who serves as the program’s case manager and the center’s Responsible Fathers Initiative coordinator.

The initiative’s community group for fathers operates at the center’s location on Port Street in Easton and provides meals and wraparound services to participants, including help with housing, transportation, food and financial literacy.

To Phillips, the initiative has been a “major contribution” in working to beat generational poverty cycles.

“The role of the father in the household is huge,” she said.

Regardless of whether fathers are living with their families, the center being able to help men with better communication, improve self-esteem and support education and employment efforts can empower participants and break the cycle.

To Wilson, those supports were invaluable — he received help with enrolling his son in day care and obtaining a voucher for it, he said.

LISTENING, LEARNING, GROWING With multiple meetings running weekly both inside and outside of the detention center, the opportunities for group participants to grow in knowledge of themselves and the commitments and responsibilities associated with fatherhood are ample.

The curriculums in the detention center and in the community are similar, with focuses placed on self-awareness, self-care, fathering skills, parenting skills and relationship skills.

To Pack, the group serves as a supportive, judgment-free zone — a safe space where time is given to listen and be heard.

“... When they can come together in a group and they feel that they have some comfort there, they’re being respected, they’re not being judged, they’re not being told that they’re a deadbeat father or that they’re worthless or they’re not this or that, but allowed to be heard — I think that gives them the empowerment to come back,” he said.

While in the detention center, Wilson always looked forward to going to the group, he said.

He recalled being prompted with “I am” statements, which are commonly used to provide affirmations and challenge negative self-perceived thoughts.

“I had the basis of ‘I am Black,’ ‘I am a man,’ but it made me dig deep for the next go around,” he said. “I had stronger responses because it really made me think about how I view myself or wanted to view myself.”

Being in the group with other men who openly shared their failures and strengths in being a father, along with how it affected them before and during their incarceration, provided a variety of viewpoints for Wilson to consider.

Holding himself accountable, learning the ins and outs of communication, body language and tone through the initiative’s curriculum proved to be some of the key lessons Wilson still remembers today. Those lessons were especially beneficial with navigating co-parenting and having respect for each other, he said.

That work continued when he joined the men’s group held in the community, too.

And although his son is just shy of 2 years old, Wilson knows he wants to be a role model — one who wants to make sure his son knows that it’s OK to cry.

“... A lot of that is stigmatized, and I want him to know it’s OK to show your emotions basically, because that’s what a lot of us are taught not to do,” he said. “I just want to let him know that it’s OK to have emotions and to show them, and the proper ways to deal with them — that’s the type of stuff I’d like to instill in him.”

See the article on the Star Democrat website:

Corey Pack interviewed on the Benjamin Brunner radio show, WHCP 91.7 FM 


Listen to Corey Pack's interview with host Benjamin Brunner on WHCP 91.7 FM, Cambridge, MD

Part 1

Part 2


The 25th Annual Caliber Awards


Mid Shore Behavioral Health honored Corey W. Pack at the 25th Annual Caliber Awards for his work with the Responsible Fathers Initiative.


Talbot Mentors


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


Dr. Neely from the Maryland State Department of Education stopped in the Easton High School Teen Dad group.  Neighborhood Service Center 2nd Gen Coordinator Dawn Phillips also visited the group. 

New Walk Community Church presentation.png

Better Fathers, Better Future Men’s Conference


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.


Faces of Philanthropy: Responsible Fathers Initiative

From Attraction Magazine, 11/23/2022

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 or by check payable to Responsible Fathers Initiative, 331 Laurel Street, Easton, Maryland 21601. Visit for further information.

When Young Fathers Meet College Professors: A Chat with Corey Pack and Joseph Prud’homme

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.



St. Michaels Community Center helps fathers build skills



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

“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
For more information or to enroll in the program, contact SMCC Executive Director Patrick Rofe at 410-745-6073 or at

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