I’m a little late in posting this, but wanted you all to be aware of an event going on tonight. Lighthouse Youth Services will host the third annual graduation event for members of the REAL (Responsible, Effective, Accountable, Loving) Dads program. The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the New Thought Unity Center, 1401 E. McMillan Ave.
The REAL Dads program, which began in 2007, is designed for men ages 17 years and up who are in the Hamilton County Child Support system. REAL Dads helps eliminate barriers to employment and engagement with the child. The program provides counseling, job coaching and child support information to fathers who are at risk of failing to financially and emotionally support their children.
Since its inception, approximately 250 fathers have graduated from the REAL Dads program. These fathers have more than 1,100 children and have provided close to $350,000 in child support payments.
JFS is known for cracking down on delinquent parents; this program is designed to help them not only pay, but become better parents. Participants are in the REAL Dads caseload for six months and they are “protected” from any additional enforcement activities as long as they comply with the rules of the program and attend any and all Lighthouse activities.
Our REAL Dads program was chosen as a winner of a 2009 achievement awards from the National Association of Counties for innovative programs that contribute to and enhance county government. It was one of four JFS programs to receive that honor. (Only 13 in Ohio and 500 around the country.)
Twenty seven men are expected to graduate tonight. Dr. Kirk E. Harris, a facilitator with the National Fatherhood Leadership Group, will provide an update on the state of the fatherhood movement. Please join us if you can.