Male mentoring projects on the rise
News from overseas about two international male mentoring projects are going from strength to strength provides a timely reminder of the value of programs that empower men to support other men and boys.
In the US, Richland Pregnancy Services in Ohio, estimates it has supported 500 fathers through its Dad to Dad Mentoring Program.
The program has over 20 weekly lessons, with participating dads working through different materials with their mentors. Dick Stedman, who has been with the program since 2008 says:
"There is a big problem with absentee fathers in our country, and all the national studies show those children with absentee fathers are more likely to grow up having problems — they may drop out of school or all kinds of things can happen. We feel that this community needs to have involved dads, it needs to have families that are growing stronger".
In the UK, the Lads Needs Dads program is providing mentors to boys without a father in their life. The program - which focuses on boys aged 11 and 15 from fatherless homes who are at risk of offending, underachieving of mental health problems - launched four years ago in Essex, England.
Founder, Sonia Shaljean says:
"This is not a local issue, it’s international. If we want to address society’s problems, we want to do it everywhere. It will take a few years, but my goal is a Lads Need Dads programme in every single school.”
In Australia and New Zealand, male mentoring projects include:
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