Brothers United Says: "Fathers Have A Place At The Table"!

I thought that I would never see, a FATHER as involved as he could be!

Well, this satirical poem started out familiarly but was focused on TREES. Joyce Kilmer, the Author of the poem, had TREES in mind. Rather than Trees, there is a group in Toledo who has FATHERS in mind, Brothers United of Pathway Inc.

Pathway;s Brothers United Fatherhood Program, has specific goals in mind as they seek to reach young fathers ages 16 to 24 years and older fathers ages 25- and older whose children are 23 years old and younger. Brothers United provides comprehensive services to low income fathers in an effort to assist them in strengthening their father/child engagement so that the results will be positive. It also seeks to improve employment and economic opportunities, along with improving healthy relationships between couples and enhancing co-parenting. The program offers an extended menu of services for at risk youth fathers who are not enrolled in school, have a criminal justice history, behavioral or physical health conditions, as well as unemployed. For six weeks, fathers who live in the community where high levels of poverty exist, are engaged in an evidence based curriculum that consists of weekly group sessions that are designed to improve participant's social, educational, economic, cultural, and financial functioning.

The program realizes that potential participants are found throughout the community and therefore it has an extensive outreach goal to reach out geographically. Group meetings take place at various locations with Fatherhood Facilitators who draw from their own experiences to enhance the learning experiences of the participants. Two of those persons are Edward Summers and Jermey Hampton. These men spend their days and weeks untiringly, attempting to help participants achieve success in all areas of their lives, ranging from relationship building to obtaining educational goals. Fathers are also linked with a Case Manager who provides home visits and advocates for fathers in areas such as child support.

In a recent interview with Edward, a Recruiter/Facilitator with Brothers United, he draws on a wealth of experience from his past, as well as that of being a father. He states that this has afforded him the opportunity to be able to relate to the young men who enter the B U Nation, as it is also affectionately known as. Edward believes deeply in what he does with the men on a daily basis. His passion for positive outcomes with program participants drives his commitment to prove others wrong who believe that " men are dead beat dads". The positive results repeatedly prove this old adage wrong. He states that he sees BROTHERS UNITED as "the barrier eliminator", as the overriding belief by the program is " Change a father, Change a family, and you fix a Community". He believes a true indication that the program works and is working for the fathers in attendance, is that they continue to show up and positive results are being seen in all areas of participation.

Another Recruiter/Facilitator for the program is Jermey Hampton who draws on his 8 years of experience in working with children. He believes that the role of the father in the lives of children is paramount. He has a strong conviction about family, as his desire is to enhance the lives of children and families, and he believes that this can result through the young and adult men who enter the door daily with the intent to be and become great fathers. Jermey is committed to making a difference with the program participants. To date he reports that 130 men have completed the program since its inception. And because BROTHERS UNITED is determined to reach young and adult fathers, he believes that they are unstoppable and will continue to impact the quality of life in each father that they come in contact with. Jermey left these words as his foremost tag line: " I like the dads but I love the children"!

BROTHERS UNITED at Pathway Inc. is purposeful in their outreach efforts to reach fathers. They continue to spread the message and are strategically located throughout the community in an effort to find and empower fathers. We celebrate this program that is making a difference in the lives of fathers and in the quality of relationships between children and co-parents. The process to connect with Brothers United is simple just call (419) 279-6297 or stop and see them on the second floor of 505 Hamilton Ave.

Funding for this project was provided by United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant 90FK0087. These services are available to all eligible persons, regardless of race, age, disability, or religion.

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