“ I don’t want them to only look at me as a dad, but also as a friend. I will give you all the love, guidance, support in any decisions you choose to make in your life by demonstrating honesty, humility, and responsibility.” – Sean Walsh
Nurturing Fathers Community Program Graduation
The Children’s Trust partners with state and community agencies to bring the Nurturing Fathers Program to Massachusetts fathers. The program helps fathers build parenting skills and strengthen bonds with their children. The Children’s Trust and the Hampshire House of Corrections partner to offer the Nurturing Fathers program in the jail to provide guidance and counseling to fathers during their incarceration and additional transitional support at the Northampton Recovery Center for participants after they leave incarceration through the Nurturing Fathers Community Program. The Community Program is also open to community members interested in participating in Nurturing Fathers.
Since this partnership began in 2016, more than 150 fathers have graduated from the program.
Last month, 11 dads graduated from the 7th annual Nurturing Fathers Community Program Graduation at a ceremony at Look Park in Florence, MA. The graduating fathers read individual essays titled “The Father I Choose to Be” in which they shared with attendees how they want to parent their children moving forward. Graduates and their families were joined by Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, Children’s Trust Executive Director Jennifer Valenzuela, Nurturing Fathers Program Facilitators Vuthy Chhum and Demetra Balis, and Nurturing Fathers Hampshire Sheriff’s Office Program Director Mindy Cady.
“A Nurturing Father is almost like a planter that plants a seed and he doesn’t walk away from the seed, he gives it everything it needs to prosper and grow” – Dakota Perry
The Nurturing Fathers curriculum is an evidence-based, 13-week training course designed to teach parenting and nurturing skills to men. Each class provides proven, effective skills for healthy family relationships and child development. Fathers begin the program by exploring their own childhood and are observed interacting with their children during a father-child play day. Trained facilitators provide feedback and individualized support to help program participants strengthen their parenting skills.
Research links father involvement to numerous benefits for children and families, from maternal and infant health to nearly every measure of child wellbeing.