Man 2 Man Fatherhood Initiative Provide Jobs

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FLORENCE, S.C. — “Dads make a difference.”

The Man 2 Man Fatherhood Initiative exists to provide jobs, training and teaching for fathers and families going through tough situations.

Man 2 Man, a nonprofit organization started in 1999, is one of six organizations across the state of South Carolina that promote healthy family relationships through the fatherhood initiative.

Deon Campbell, site director of Man 2 Man, said those who go through the program receive job training to prepare for employment.

“Every guy that comes in will take a 20-hour job boot camp so that we can prepare him for employment,” Campbell said. “The majority of the guys in our program have never known their fathers, so they’re learning how to be a father themselves. I have a 6-year-old daughter; she’s a daddy’s girl. I was blessed to grow up with my father and still have him. I find myself doing a lot of things that he and I did when I was small with my little girl.”

The program consists of an employability development boot camp, an economic stability program and a Kuder career assessment.

The participants are taught skills such as personal money management with guidance from financial professionals and then are assessed by “employability coaches” who continuously work with fathers on training and career development opportunities.

In addition to economic training, Man 2 Man helps mentor fathers on how to develop healthy relationships, dealing with conflict and the importance of being involved in the lives of their children through weekly sessions taught at the facility.

Anthony Green is an intervention specialist with Man 2 Man.

“One main attribute that we have as a staff is that we’re all fathers,” Green said. “What we do minute-to-minute is enrich others that we meet with what we’re practicing. I can’t really teach you unless I show you how I’m actually living.”

Fathers are either referred by courts or other organizations, such as social services departments, around the area or decide to apply voluntarily. To be eligible, the parent must have a child under the age of 18.

Green said the program goes through real-life problems and teaches fathers how to solve conflict and communicate with their co-parent in a way that would not hurt the child as a result.

“We don’t want our young men to degrade our mothers,” Green said. “We don’t allow our participants to carry the term “baby mother.” We’ll stop the session and correct that right away. They say “my child’s mother.” That little rewording changes their outlook and promotes respect to the mother.”

Man 2 Man has two facilities, one at 1321 W. Evans St. in Florence and the other at 110 S. Parsonage St. in Bennettsville, which is the original office.

Terrance Turner, also an intervention specialist with Man 2 Man, said he was in the program and has seen the change it has made in his life.

“I had a court date and was in the military prior and I had some issues where I got behind on child support,” Turner said. “I was mandated to come to the program, but I took it serious and really engaged in what they were teaching. Lo and behold, in January 2017, they offered me a job and I’ve been here ever since. I know it works. You have all the resources needed, but the person has to have the desire to want to be a better father, man and provider.”

At the facilities, Man 2 Man offers a computer room for its participant to update their resumes and perform work, as well as a game room and a conference room. At each weekly session, the program provides a meal.

“We are so unique because you don’t find many programs that are targeted specifically toward men,” Turner said. “If the men are not strengthened, the children cannot be strengthened. We bring them and tell them ‘you got this,’ ‘you matter,’ and ‘your child needs you.’ Mothers do a phenomenal job, but where are the fathers at?”

Man 2 Man serves Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence and Marlboro counties.

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“Every child needs their father, just like they need their mother,” Turner said. “Personally, I didn’t have my father in my home to go to when I had questions. When that’s missing, it really hurts the child. The father provides that structure to let them know that if anything ever happens, I’m there for you.”

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“As a father, you’re out there trying to make ends meet and it seems like everything’s coming against you,” Turner said. “You don’t have anywhere to come, ‘take the armor off’ and just be transparent. You don’t have anywhere to show those weaknesses. Fathers want somewhere that they can go and get some help, not feel like less of a man or person for asking and that’s what we try to provide here.”

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