Dads Make A Difference

Rating: 4.82 stars   71 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth

Location: PO Box 231 Stillwater MN 55082 USA

Mission: Dads Make a Difference (DMAD) addresses two issues that significantly impact the financial stability and self-reliance of families – absent fathers and too-early parenting. The value of healthy fatherhood is increasingly evident, with research, public policy, and communities all acknowledging the need for children to experience positive relationships with both men and women. Healthy fatherhood complements and supports healthy motherhood. Children benefit from the wealth of each parent's life experiences, different styles, and approaches to dealing with life. Yet looking at male socialization, we often see a scarcity of healthy adult male role models for boys and a lack of education about what it means to grow up to become a positive man and father. In many ways, our culture fails to provide boys and men sufficient direction and support in order for them to define and adopt healthy expressions of masculinity and fatherhood. Prior to becoming dads, young men often do not give a great deal of thought or attention to whether they would like to have children, how many, and what they want their families to look like. As a result, they don’t engage in conversations about family formation and planning. Young men need the ability to be partners in conversations about pregnancy prevention and family planning, an important aspect of their development and important to their long-term success.
Results: DMAD builds life skills so youth are prepared to think critically about healthy relationships, becoming sexually active, and the consequences of parenting too soon. Too-early parenting and absent fathers are identified risk factors for poverty. Youth are educated about the emotional, physical, and financial responsibilities of having children. Educated youth are more likely to make mature decisions about relationships, take personal responsibility for life choices including their readiness to parent, and understand how children benefit from father involvement and co-parenting. As DMAD youth transition to adulthood, their communities are strengthened because they are better equipped to make intentional choices about creating families. DMAD works at the most basic level to empower youth to be self-sufficient and reach their full potential by engaging teens in leadership roles and as the messengers to younger youth. DMAD works diligently on its outreach to youth of color as they are affected disproportionately by too-early pregnancy and by poverty. Having the important conversation about when to have a child and who to have that child with is not easy. DMAD was developed to help young people consider the very important decision about when to become a parent, to include young men in the conversation, and to help young women recognize the importance of a father to their future child. From October 1994 through Sept 2014, DMAD trained 3,046 teen peer educators from 170 schools and community agencies across the state. These teens in turn taught the curriculum to about 78,000 middle school-age youth in urban, suburban, and rural settings.
Target demographics: We train high school-age teens, boys and girls, to be peer educators of middle school-age youth using the DMAD curriculum in schools, community agencies, and faith-based groups.
Direct beneficiaries per year: About 500 youth
Geographic areas served: Minnesota statewide, about 70% metro and 30% greater MN. We have also done some national replication and have an international presence as well.
Programs: DMAD peer education promoting the positive involvement of fathers and educating youth about responsible parenting.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 34-2060325
651-338-8386
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I was involved with Dads Make a Difference from the beginning as the first staff person and stayed involved for 9 years. Currently I am an annual donor. I witnessed first hand during my involvement the impact learning about responsible fatherhood had on teens and young adults. As a professional still working in the field of teen pregnancy prevention, there is often little focus on males and fathers. I don't know of any other organization and curriculum in Minnesota that educates about Paternity Establishment as DMAD does. I am proud that DMAD has sustained itself for almost 20 years

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Quite well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

I was fortunate enough to see two sets of youth in training sessions. They were being taught priceless life lessons that you do not get in school. The questions they asked reflected that they were very attentive and absorbing the concepts taught. Every child needs to go through this course. The course provides valuable insight into making good life choices. Thanks. Bob Jackson, Hennepin County Child Support

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

During the 2012 election campaigning, there was a strong focus on women's health, access to birth control and relationships. I participated in several debates with loved ones, co-workers, friends and community members in regards to these issues and often found myself frustrated by the lack of focus on prevention. I found myself wishing for more programming like Dads Make a Difference to engage our young people in conversations about what constitutes healthy relationships, what aspects of life emotionally, financially and physically are so important to have in place before bringing a child into the world and how to make informed, planned decisions around beginning families so those children and their communities are stronger and healthier as an end result. Dads Make a Difference celebrates all families who are raising children in today's society and focuses on personal choice and control in relationships and parenting. I fully believe if there were more options for Dads Make a Difference to be consistently taught in all high schools and middle schools there would be a reduction in teen parenting, young people accessing or needing welfare and divorces as well as an increase in high school graduation rates, effective co-parenting amongst parents and healthier children. Dads Make a Difference is a program that has demonstrated effectiveness through evaluation and years of positively impacting anyone who participates and I will continue to support this program as it moves forward.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I first heard about Dads Make a Difference from a peer in college. She was trainer for the training being held that weekend and from the moment she named the program I wanted to know more. My dad was the biggest positive influence in my life so I wanted in on this opportunity to create more awareness of the positive impact fathers can have on their children's lives. I had no idea the impact this program would have on my life. Dads Make a Difference disseminates information about the positive roles of fathers in families, the importance of waiting to parent until a person is emotionally, financially and physically ready, and making healthy choices as an individual to create the future one wants. From the evidence-based peer teaching model and curriculum, to the Cadillac-version of trainings, down to each member of the DMAD family, this program strives to stay relevant, accurate and engaging for young people in all communities. The curriculum is updated regularly with current statistics, updated or new activities which match information to real life situations and new information like a focus on healthy relationships, or a new type of family that should be recognized. The trainers are offered staff development each year which highlights important social issues impacting communities and the young people DMAD serves. Jan Hayne, working as a staff of one, believes in the mission and the young people she entrusts to carry it forward each year which gives her the energy to push forward alone, always searching for more funders to recognize the wealth embedded in this organization. For the schools and communities who have chosen to use this curriculum year after year since its inception, they have seen the positive impact young people can have when they are given accurate information and encouraged to share it with others. For the individuals who have chosen to remain engaged throughout the years to volunteer as trainers, interns, board members and teen teachers, they have felt the incredible impact of a shift in mindset to consider the possibilities of a society where fathers are positively invested in their children’s lives. For me, I’ve had young people tell me they are choosing to delay being sexually active until they are ready to parent, several young men I taught went on to establish paternity and become involved in their own children’s lives and I continue to honor my dad’s role in my life each time I share about my experience with DMAD. Dads Make a Difference truly is a GREAT non-profit!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the many personal stories shared with my by young people who have been taught, trained or been teachers of the curriculum themselves.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find more funding so it could be staffed to enable the growth necessary.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the family that has been created and grown exponentially over the years.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

passionate, committed, loyal, dedicated, enthusiastic, engaging, influential, open-minded, and full of integrity.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

promote the positive involvement of fathers and educate youth about responsible parenting worldwide.

Ways to make it better...

the organization was fully financially supported.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding, staff, and recognition.

One thing I'd also say is that...

if you believe fathers have a place in their children's lives, you'll choose to support this organization in any way you can.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

WOW, this is awesome! I started with DMAD as one of the 1st teen trainees in April of 1994 then became a teen and adult trainer shortly after I trained my first few lessons. I can truely say that this program helped affirm and direct my life not only personaly but professionaly as well. Being married and a father of two wonderfull boys I can look back at the lesson that I learned from DMAD that help shape the husband and father that I wanted to be. (you have to ask them how I'm doing LOL) I am now the Director of Recruiting and Training for a large national company where I utilize some of the same teaching techniques I've learned over the years by being a trainer with DMAD. I can't believe it's been almost 20 years! Through this program I havr been able to work with exceptional people and have some of the most memorable experiences. Road trips with Gary and Jan, snoring...I mean dancing competitions with "D", training with Angie in Boston...(Lois hit me up some time LOL). I even had the pleasure of playing piano and accompany a world class thespian, Mr. T Michael Rambo with Vant on the harmonica! And with that I must end this review with a quote from the DMAD Theme Song: "You got to be there, DADS make a difference, show somebody you care!"

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Dads Make a Difference since 2000. I coordinated a group of teens who were trained to teach the curriculum to middle schoolers. Many of the teen peer educators had life-changing experiences as a result of participating in this program - one became a teacher, one re-connected with a father who had not been a regular part of his life, and several talked about how what kind of parent they wanted to be. DMAD is a unique program that works to build on the strengths of youth, and truly values their experiences and contributions.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with DMAD since 2002 when I went through the program myself as a teen. I then began to teach in the community and eventually became a trainer and continue to train today. I joined the board last year because I am extremely passionate about the work that this program does. I feel that it shaped my life personally and helped me to become a good role model as a student and now an informal mentor to teens. I am a social worker by day and really teel that this program has helped me down this career path as well. I am grateful for my experiences in this program as a teen and beyond and am happy that others have the opportunities to be part of this life-changing program as well!!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

As a former teacher and as a member of the staff of the Massachusetts Child Support Enforcement Division, I was so impressed with the Dads Make a Difference program that I replicated it for use with young people in Massachusetts. I had been involved in child support cases with teens who did not realize the financial obligations that they would have once they became parents. The Dads Make a Difference program educates young people about all the responsibilities that parents have and makes a compelling case for why it is better to defer parenthood until they are ready to meet these obligations. The model of older teens presenting the curriculum to middle school youth is very effective, as the younger students look up to the older teens and are more likely to listen to the messages. The Dads Make a Difference program is an excellent source of information that young people need to know and they hear it in a way that is effective. I can't say enough about this wonderful program!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

1999

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Dads Make a Difference (DMAD) is a fantastic program that I've had the good fortune of working with over a three year period. I acted as an intermdediary between the high school age teachers, the middle schools, and Dads itself. I attended several top notch trainings and watched the development of the high school facilitators as teachers and role models. It was also a real pleasure to watch the seventh graders and their reaction to and interaction with the curriculum. Dads Make a Difference is an irreplaceable program and a true asset to our kids and communities.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I recommend this program to all high School and Middle schools. My students have been involved in DMAD over the past 15 years and this program had help them build a better relationship with there father. Older teens can be effective role models for younger youth becasue they are closer in age and experience. WE NEED THIS PROGRAM

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

DMAD is a awesome program for youth and adults, the work over the 12 plus years I have trained for them has been very informative for the youth and the adults that attend the training with them. Two of my four children have gone through the training. Great asset to are youth as it gives them information that will last a lifetime.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful?