This week we are spotlighting the non-profit organization Fathers Building Futures. Have you heard of them? If not, we’ve got the scoop for you:
Fathers Building Futures began out of a program under the PB&J Family Services organization. The program was so successful that Fathers Building Futures became a separate non-profit organization operating independently. But who are they and what do they do?
Fathers Building Futures works with and employs fathers who have been incarcerated to provide them the necessary skills and resources to reconnect with their children, communities, and help them rebuild themselves. All in the efforts to discourage reincarceration. They provide the fathers work in various microbusinesses under the Fathers Building Futures organization. These microbusinesses include auto detailing, truck driving, mobile power washing, and custom woodworking. They also provide the fathers addiction support, parenting resources, and help them overcome the obstacles they face post incarceration.
Fathers Building Future also has a mentoring program that has proven to be an integral tool provided to the fathers. We reached out to Deena Crawley who serves a mentor for them, and we asked her to tell us about her experience. Her response is below.
Deena on Mentorship
Perspective is a powerful tool and I was recently reminded of such during a mentorship session at Father’s Building Futures, which has a mission “To ensure parents and families experiencing barriers from incarceration have the best opportunities for stability − emotionally, socially and financially.” In an informal conversation, one of the dads commented that growing up everyone around him “hustled” (aka sold drugs). This was true of his parents, neighbors, family, and friends. Growing up he thought this was how everyone made money. By the time he was a teenager, he had entered the family business. Eventually, he was caught dealing drugs and went to prison. As he was telling this story, I realized how similar and yet how different our backgrounds were. On one hand, he and I both had families that set expectations for our futures and we did not question their plans for us. On the other hand, his family’s expectation of selling drugs and my family’s expectation of education were drastically different. Never was there a question about me not attending college and never was there a question about him not selling drugs. Different sides of the same coin.
What is most important about this story is that the man who shared it has two children. Life has not been easy for them given their father’s incarceration. And yet, life is starting to turn around for them, in part because of Father’s Building Futures. The organization gave their dad a place to work after he was released, which provide much-need financial support. While there, he built a practical skill set and learned how to write a resume and interview for a job. Furthermore, the group assisted with finding long-term housing and how to cope with “triggers.” Today, he works for a general contractor, his kids are in school, and he has found a new, healthy “normal.”
Each time I walk away from a mentorship session, I am in awe of the resiliency of the men participating in the program. They are hard-working, wise, and always make me laugh. I am grateful the organization has given me an opportunity for my path to cross with these fine men.
To learn more about Father’s Building Futures, or to see the cool things the dads are crafting (everything from cutting boards to caskets), visit https://www.fathersbuildingfutures.com/.
There you have it folks. If you need your car detailed, are interested in picking up some hand-crafted wood pieces, want to hear some of the father's success stories, or simply wish to donate, visit https://www.fathersbuildingfutures.com/.
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