African American Fathers Stepping UP!
Tuesday March 20, 2012 was the start of The Dovetail Project. This is my 5th class of fathers and 61 fathers have graduated from the program out of two years. This was a big day for me and I was wondering if all my hard work paid off. I was recruiting on Facebook, in the hood and tweeting like crazy. It was time to see if anyone of the young fathers that I talked to would come out to be a better father.
So as I walk into the Jackson Park Field House where I hold the weekly sessions I start chatting with the staff for a minute. I didn’t want to look down the hall but before I had a chance to look one of the staff members said to me “You better get back there you have room full of young men”. My heart leaped out of my chest because when you are trying to make a difference and want to help it is always hard to get people to volunteer their time and put in the work to want to change.
The mission of The Dovetail Project is to empower young African-American fathers (ages 15-24) with the parenting skills, life skills, and job readiness skills that will enable them to be a present and positive influence in the lives of their children and the community in which they live; and to encourage them to own responsibility for the emotional and economic well-being of their families.
The Dovetail Project had 17 young fathers sitting and waiting to make a change in their life. I always hear older people talk about the problems but never give solutions to the problem. Well I am just taking small steps to make a difference. As I look into the eyes of these young men you see the thirst andthe hunger of them wanting to change their circumstances not only for them but especially for their kids.
Fatherhood doesn’t come with a manual. Everyone expect men to have the tool necessary to be a great father. Men can only be what they see! I just wanted to share my story and let people who want to help know don’t get discouraged when you offer the help and people don’t show up or take you up on the offer. If you truly want to help people and make a difference always stay true to who you are and keep trying.
When I had my 1st orientation I had 1 person waiting on me and this week for my 5th class I had 17 fathers age 15-24 waiting on me. Happy 2yrs Anniversary to the Dovetail Project. Don’t fear and don’t get discouraged because fear and discouragement will keep you from what god has planned for you.
For more info please visit www.thedovetailproject.org