109 Madison Street
Zanesville, OH
Burl Lemon, Program Manager
Service Area: Guernsey, Muskingum, Noble and Perry Counties

"Unequivocally, ForeverDads would cease to exist in its present strength and form without the contributing dollars from the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood and our award of the Responsible Fatherhood grant.  Though our community is extremely supportive and has been generative in our funding development, the leadership support of the Commission, the funding dollars of this grant and the collective development outcomes that this project requires has strengthened our serve.  ForeverDads is committed to changing the landscape of families in our community by increasing awareness that fathers matter, by providing avenues to men who are seeking to be a responsible father and by raising the vision of the community to enhance the life of families through the advocacy of both parents being involved in the lives of their children."

                                                                                                                                                                         Burl Lemon, CEO of ForerverDads

Program Information

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 (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.


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Upcoming Events

The Commission Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 10, 2022 from 10:00 am. – 12:00 p.m. 

(ODJFS) OCF Commission Meeting 
Date: November 10, 2022 at 10:00 am – 12 noon
Location: Vern Riffe Building (Riffe)
77 S. High St. 19th Floor, Conference Room 1948
Columbus, OH  43215

The meeting will be IN-PERSON. Please allow time to find parking and going through the security checks at the Vern Riffe Building. Please bring your photo Identification.

2022 Commission Meeting Dates:    Feb. 10, May 12, July 14, Sept. 8 and Nov. 10.

If you would like to attend a commission meeting or if you have any questions, please contact Terri Simons via e-mail at

If you need to speak to someone over the phone, please contact Executive Director Kimberly Dent at 614-752-0583.