Dirk*, father of two young children and previously incarcerated: Dirk, an inmate at Middle River Regional Jail participated in the Office on Youth’s 27/7 Dad class. 24/7 Dad is an evidence-based program from the National Fatherhood Initiative that teaches men the characteristics they need to be a good father. The program is well-rounded, included lessons in child development, the father’s role, communication, discipline, family history, men’s health, co-parenting, and more.
During class, he was a quiet guy but when he added to the conversation it was valuable. Before his incarceration he had been a part of a white supremist gang. He was raised by a father that subscribed to those beliefs, and he had followed in his father’s footsteps. It was during this 12 session class that Dirk realized how he was living influenced his two young children and the impact his lifestyle had and would have on his children’s future. He didn’t want his children to be raised like he had; he wanted something better for them. During 24/7 Dads, he made the decision to leave the gang which meant he chose to get ‘beat out.’ The class instructor had clearly noticed the man’s bruised face and body.
When Dirk was released from jail, he turned his back on his past and began to live in a way that his children could be proud of him. Dirk secured a part-time job but will soon be going into full-time work because of his astounding job performance. Dirk chose to participate in a second parenting class through the Office on Youth, Active Parenting. Active Parenting is a more generalized parenting class that covers topics such as how to deal with tantrums, encouraging school success, and non-violent forms of discipline. Since being released, Dirk has been able to gain full custody of his two young children. Dirk said, “The class at Middle River Regional Jail was a changing point in my life.”
Marcie*, mother of four, ages infant to teen: Marcie participated in Love and Logic (this class has been replaced by Active Parenting). After taking the class Marcie shared that she was actually able to defuse an argument with her teen by pulling off to the side of the road, expressing that she would not be willing to drive any further until her teen was talking calmly and could continue the conversation appropriately. Marcie learned this technique in a Love and Logic class. Marcie was able to implement other tools she learned in Love and Logic at home such as letting natural consequences do the teaching and being empathetic. Later on, the teen was in the car with Mom and Dad when the teen started to argue with Dad. The teen actually caught themself and said, “If we don’t stop, Mom is going to pull over and not drive. I think we need to settle down.”
Derek*, single father of two adolescent boys: Derek participated in Love and Logic (this class has been replaced by Active Parenting). Derek became so motivated from the Love and Logic class that he also participated in For Kid’s Sake, benefiting from that program too. Later, he came in and spoke with our Parenting Coordinator. Derek shared that he was extremely pleased with our programs and wanted to do more. He shared that he had participated in so many other programs and classes, and they just never fit or worked for him and his family. To Derek’s surprise, he found our programs helpful and beneficial for his family and their needs. Derek plans to participate in yet another parenting class offered by the Office on Youth.
Frank*, incarcerated father at Middle River Regional Jail with a toddler: While incarcerated, Frank participated in our Dad’s Inc program. Frank had always felt that since he was incarcerated he couldn’t or shouldn’t try to reach out to his family. After learning that it is important to to try and open doors of communication with his toddler’s caregiver; he tried. By doing this Frank was able to receive pictures and even a visit with his toddler and caregiver. Frank was extremely happy and excited to have communication again with his toddler.
*Names have been changed to protect identity.