Dad HERO (HELPING EVERYONE REALIZE OPPORTUNITIES)
With the help of the Movember Foundation and great partners, we are helping incarcerated dads and their families in federal and provincial prisons and communities
all across Canada!
This project began in August 2018 and in the midst of Covid-19 we are still working! Current sites include Atlantic Institution (NB), Millhaven Institution (ON), and Springhill Institution (NS) with more to come soon! Call us if you'd like to get someone involved in the project.
What is this project?
The project is designed to educate and teach dads about parenting, how children grow, and why their children need them. CFCN has spent a great deal of time researching and building a lot of great exercises and activities to help dads learn in a fun way about the father-child bond, how to communicate with their child and how to work with a co-parent.
It starts with an 8-week parenting course that will be offered in the institutions over and over again. From there the men will move into a Dad Group in the prison that will meet regularly to keep them connected about something positive – their children!
The project will also offer a Dad Group on the outside - to continue to help men in our communities. This group is for dads who have been in jail, federally or provincially in the past, to focus on community parenting issues. It will meet regularly, starting in September 2018.
We welcome all dads affected by incarceration. We will be working with them to keep them connected to their kids, to help them feel better about themselves, to cope with prison, and to strengthen the family unit for reintegration success.
Even if they’re doing fine, we want to keep it that way!
Why Dad HERO?
“Our project is HERO – ‘Helping Everyone Realize Opportunities’ because each individual in our prisons has many sides. Being a dad doesn’t stop because you are incarcerated. It’s not just a title, it’s a job, and each dad has many positives that they can offer their children, their families. We want them to recognize that, to increase their confidence, and stay connected to build resiliency toward their well-being and successful family reunification” says Louise Leonardi, CFCN’s Executive Director.
How did it all start?
For many years now, men in prison have asked CFCN for help in terms of parenting. In 2015 we applied to The Movember Foundation for funding to go in and talk to men about exactly what that meant and Movember said yes. So we put together what we learned from the men and how we would like to help and on September 1st, 2017 Movember announced Canadian Family and Corrections Network’s (CFCN) Dad HERO Project as one of 13 projects in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada to be part of the Social Innovators Challenge.
This funding is to invest in men’s physical and mental health by strengthening their connections to improve their well-being and help them live long and healthy lives. “We know that in their 30s, men tend to start letting go of key relationships,” says Craig Martin, Global Director, Mental Health & Suicide Prevention, The Movember Foundation. “This is having a far-reaching and very negative impact because social relationships are a key protective factor for men against anxiety, depression and potentially suicide. We need to tackle this issue, and fresh ideas are needed because the status quo isn’t working for men.” The Dad HERO Project is one of those fresh ideas.
Canadian Families and Corrections Network was pleased to receive additional funding in 2021 from The Movember Foundation in order to help men and their families. See more information on the Movember Social Innovators Challenge here: news article.