In 2002, funds were allocated to local counties by the state to address father absence at which time the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood came into existence. Muskingum County Families and Children First Council chose to pilot a project called Fathers Matter to determine how they could effectively utilize these fund, assess the needs and address the findings. For the next couple of years, James McDonald was given the charge to lead this endeavor. He seeded this fatherhood initiative with training trainers for delivery of fatherhood programming that would strengthen men, while at the same time called the community to focus on the importance of fathers through celebration activities both in local schools as well as the community at large.
In 2006, after having determined that a community based organization with a 501c3 status was the best route, Burl Lemon, executive director to present, incorporated what has become known locally, throughout the state and the nation as ForeverDads. Though this experiment within the classroom of the community has struggled to solidify, through the supportive leadership of community stakeholders, private and corporate dollars as well as the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood funding and guidance, we have grown strong. Just like we are committed to becoming the outcome of the fathers we serve.
ForeverDads bridges the community sectors (agencies, law enforcement, schools, faith-based & non-profit, businesses, courts, health care, government, philanthropists and fatherhood advocacy entities) collectively and thereby decreases the funding dollars needed to serve a diverse population of fathers, children and the entire family through father and family wellness programs, parent engagement activities, family focused events, funding projects for sustainability and collaboration which in turn inspires volunteers to partner with us.
Mission Statement: ForeverDads encourages, educates and equips men to develop positive relationships with their children, family and community.
• We believe that fatherhood is an honor, a privilege and a lifetime commitment.
• We believe that fathers matter to the Zanesville-Muskingum County community.
• We believe equipping and supporting men to be responsible fathers reduces father absence and increases father engagement with children and families.
• We believe that when fatherhood and parenting are strengthened, the community is strengthened.
• We believe that faith is a significant factor in community and family well-being.
• We believe that we must be accountable to stakeholders in order to build trust, gain confidence and promote community investment.
Services: ForeverDads foundational service component is our Fatherhood Coaching which provides an initial intake process that allows the staff to relationally identify with the father his immediate needs to strengthen himself first, then his support to his children and family. Through this streamlined process, we create a goal list, a plan of attack and begin framing it together with community resources for a healthy outcome.
Providing advocacy in communicating with Child Support, the courts, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Family Law Clinic and/or Bar Association members, employers, school and universities, health department, mental health as well as substance abuse services and family support resources for food, clothing and shelter are the basics.
To give solidity to the long term stability of the father may necessitate participation in our fatherhood or parenting programming, job development and employment training, and opportunity involvement in healthy and safe family engagement activities that promote positive father role modeling.
How can fathers participate?
Programs: registration either by phone at (740) 453-1DAD (1323) or online at www.foreverdads.com (requires an initial intake)
• Activities: pre-registration either with the school, by phone or online [many have a nominal fee of $1]
• Events: pre-registration or at door sign-in, public notices through medias [may have a nominal fee of $1]
• Funding Projects: typically has a participation or entrance fee of $25 - $75
• Collaboration: we are always seeking fathers who are recipients of our services to speak and engage with community stakeholders. Completion of a program and in good standing, we welcome their engagement.