The Community Health Department of CHI St. Joseph’s Health, Park Rapids, MN, is expanding The FATHER Project and bringing their efforts and accomplishments in working with fathers and families to a new community. This month, the program will expand to Walker, MN, about 30 miles northeast of Park Rapids.
“Every community needs a place for fathers to go to grow,” said Joe Johnson, FATHER Project coordinator. “As men, rarely do we stop to look in the mirror and say we need to work on ourselves, to become the fathers our children need us to be, to become the men our spouses need us to be. With this program, that pause takes place, and the change begins to take shape.”
Since launching in 2011, The FATHER Project has been making a positive impact in the community by providing life-changing support for families. The Project’s mission is to help fathers, custodial or non-custodial, or anyone filling in as a father figure (stepdads, grandparents, foster parents) learn healthy parenting skills and behaviors and overcome barriers that may prevent them from providing emotional and financial support for their children. By participating in this voluntary program, participants learn an array of fathering skills that include healthy disciplinary approaches, parenting and communication styles, and co-parenting skills.
During the past six years, more than 350 dads have been enrolled in The FATHER Project and been empowered to overcome barriers that prevented them from supporting their children economically and emotionally.