Clark State Community College and Urban Light Ministries will open the doors to The Fatherhood Institute (TFI) on Monday, March 14. “TFI is a new program created to be a permanent institution to strengthen families and enhance the well-being of children by preparing fathers for parenting, relationships and careers,” said Pastor Eli Williams, president and CEO of Urban Light Ministries.
A collaboration between numerous partners including the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood and Clark County Department of Job and Family Services, Clark State will provide TFI the facilities and additional student resources. “It is designed to be locally operated and community college placed,” said Williams. “It is a public and private venture. Urban Light Ministries, a Springfield-based nonprofit fatherhood services organization, is the lead agency.”
The Clark County Department of Job and Family Services is a long-time supporter of Urban Light Ministries in the local community. “The establishment of the Fatherhood Institute at Clark State expands the partners in the community actively supporting fatherhood programs,” said Dr. Virginia Martycz, director of Clark County Job and Family Services. “We welcome the Fatherhood Institute to the existing fatherhood programs in Clark County.”
Corey Holliday, director of community outreach for Clark State, said the TFI project has been in the works for about two years. “We researched several fatherhood types of programs in the country to finally come up with this model,” he said. “Pastor Williams had the vision, and we partnered with him right away because we saw the need in the community.”
Williams said the program is focused on unemployed and underemployed fathers of school age children. “The program is six weeks of full-time classroom work and twelve months of mentoring by a fatherhood coach,” said Williams. Participants, referred by local agencies, will learn healthy parenting practices, relationship skills, personal development planning, employability skills and job training.
The Fatherhood Institute will be located in Rhodes Hall on Clark State’s Leffel Lane campus in Springfield. Additional program partners include the Marriage Resource Center, CitiLookout, Ohio Means Jobs, CCDJFS Child Support, OSU Extension, Harper Mack Agency and PFACES. An open house is being planned for later this spring.
“The goal of our partnership is to provide educational opportunities to participating fathers,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “This will in turn help them become better parents.”
For more information, contact Eli Williams, director of The Fatherhood Institute, at 937-328-6105 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.