By Damion Smalls
Father to Father, Inc. CEO Troy Strother is encouraging local families to participate in the organization’s series of events leading up to Father’s Day, which occurs June 16 this year. “We are here to help one father at a time. Come join us,” he requests.
Established in 1998, Father to Father’s mission “is to engage fathers in the positive support of their children, and to enhance community support for fatherhood throughout the Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Colleton, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Allendale counties.” They provide a safe space and free services for men who are in need of guidance, struggling in their parental roles, looking for employment, seeking to mend family relations, and wanting to rebuild their lives. Additionally, they try “to help low-income, non-custodial fathers overcome the barriers that are preventing them from reconnecting with and becoming involved in the lives of their children.”
The program holds weekly group sessions on Tuesdays from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM and Thursdays from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at Father to Father’s North Charleston location (5675 Woodbine Ave.).
According to Father to Father’s 2018 Impact & Outcomes Report, they served 300 participants last year. More from the report: 259 of them became employed full-time, part-time, or temp one month. 70% of participants with child support orders did pay child support, with a total of $210,627 paid. 172 of the members participated in parent/child activities and 52% reported an improved relationship with their children, resulting in 762 children said to be positively impacted by Father to Father’s programs. $1.32 million was saved in taxpayer-funded incarceration costs through the Jobs Not Jail Program. Lastly, the report stated that 2,516 fathers have been helped by the organization since 2002.
Executive Director Troy Strother has been with the Father to Father Project for two years and says that he has had a wonderful experience in his time with the non-profit. He takes pride in his instrumental role in aiding “broken men” and those seeking to better themselves. Helping members out with economic barriers, promoting men’s health, providing a lifeline for fathers, re-engaging fathers into the lives of their children and educating are just a few of the aspects of Father to Father that drive Strother each day forward. The project works with local attorneys to assist its members for free concerning legal issues. Strother adds that they offer programs for mothers as well as they serve parents age 18-35 that meet their criteria.
The non-profit’s week-long slate of events celebrating Father’s Day begin June 9 with a check presentation at Royal Missionary Baptist Church (4671 Luella Ave., North Charleston) at 11 AM. Strother notes how the church has been more than supportive of the Father to Father Project over the years.
A book giveaway for children and gift certificates for fathers transpires June 11 at 10 AM at eight Charleston County Public Library branches: Hanahan Library (1216 Old Murray Drive, Hanahan), Cooper River Memorial Library (3503 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston), Otranto Road Regional Library (226 Otranto Road, North Charleston), Dorchester Road Regional Library (6325 Dorchester Road, North Charleston), West Ashley Library (45 Windemere Blvd., Charleston), John L. Dart Library (1067 King St., Charleston), Cynthia Hurd St. Andrews Library (1735 N Woodmere Drive, Charleston), and the Main Library (68 Calhoun St., Charleston). Participating fathers will read to their children during the event.
A free festival will be held June 13 from 5 PM to 8PM at Father to Father’s North Charleston location. A crab crack fundraiser takes place at the same location from 5PM to 9PM June 14. The $20 tickets include access to crab, fish, drinks, hot dogs, and more.
Father to Father will host a Boot Camp for New Dads June 29 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Bon Secors St. Francis Hospital (2095 Henry Tecklenburg Drive, Classroom 3). The workshop combines new dads with experienced dads for an information sharing session that will broach topics such as safety, caring for new moms, labor support, crying babies, and much more. Tickets are $25 and available on Eventbrite. Both rookie and veteran fathers are being sought to take part.
For more information, visit fathertofatherinc.org. Those interested in joining should contact Father to Father to set up a meeting at one of its three locations: Charleston (5675 Woodbine Ave., North Charleston/843-744-2126), Berkeley (255 North Highway 52 – Suite 7, Moncks Corner/843-761-5013) and Colleton (209 East Washington St., Walterboro/843-782-9090).