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

Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a part of the Dads Made a Difference (DMAD) family now for 17 years. During those 17 years I have filled many roles within the organization including teen trainer, adult trainer, staff, and board member. I moved from Minnesota to Oregon in 2009, which meant I was no longer able to fulfill those roles. What has not changed throughout the long history of the organization is the positive, lifelong impact it makes in young people's lives. The positive youth development model empowers young people to take charge of their own decision making. They become informed on life issues that will impact them at some point in the near future, and then they turn around and share that information with younger peers. In other relationships with young people, other positions I've held, I continue to reference the knowledge gained from teaching and training with DMAD. This program is relevant, necessary and a true investment in young people. I cannot imagine not supporting Dads Make a Difference.

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

Dads Make A Difference (DMAD) is a fantastic program and one I'm proud to have been a part of. In my previous position at a community agency, one of my responsibilities was to oversee the implementation of DMAD in the Minnetonka school district. I recruited young people to attend the training to become educators, then observed the delivery of the Dad's curriculum in junior high school classes. Watching the teen educators develop their capabilities over the course of a year or more was pretty incredible. Everyone involved in DMAD, from the educators to the students receiving the curriculum to their teachers, found their experience both enjoyable and valuable!

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

The learning from the training and the opportunity to present the curriculum to younger students were invaluable experiences in the lives of the teen fathers I have worked with over the years. The young men felt very respected, and they became empowered as they had a voice to address an issue that is dearly personal for them!

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I am very proud and blessed for my experience with DMAD! I began by bringing teen fathers to the trainings who were rewarded in many ways: they felt validated by their vital role as young dads, they were inspired as they taught the curriculum to other students, and they had fun! After several years of bringing teen fathers to the trainings, I was able to bring my son & his buddy - it was another fun, rewarding and memorable experience that we'll never forget! Thank you, DMAD!

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  

Dads Make A Difference - made a difference in my life. I participated in the Dada Make A Difference program in 1996 as a professional in the field. I was professionally impressed and personally touch by the curriculum so much I became a trainer for the program. After training over 800 participants during my tenure, I was blessed to see up close and personal the impact Dads Make A Difference has made in the lives of young women and especially young men. This program continuously makes strategic and intentional efforts to remain relevant. In addition, the capabilty to also be interculturally competent in its language and delivery of sensitive content is no small feat. Please join me in financially supporting Dads Make A Difference so it remains a timeless pillar in our community and beyond.

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

Mandate it's curriculum in every 6th-8th grade classroom.

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?

2013

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

I have been aware of DMAD for more than 10 years. First as a colleague, then a trainer, and finally as a board member. I was always impressed with the committment and loyalty of those who were involved in the program. This program does make a difference in the lives of those they touch. I support them as a valued community partner.

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

make it larger

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?

2013

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

How we form families is changing. The traditions of marriage, children and death till we part no longer represent the experience of many mothers, fathers and children. But the need for parents who are involved in the lives of their children remains critical. Dads Make a Difference provides a way for young people - both male and female - to consider this important need - from their perspective as a young person and also for the future family they will form. Through a youth teaching youth model, this critical conversation happens in the classroom and through youth serving programs. DMAD is an excellent example of prevention at it's best.

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? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

In my work with families, and with youth, the important conversation about when to have a child and who to have that child with has not been an easy one. DMAD was developed to help young people and their families consider the very important decision to become a parent. It was developed to include the young men in the conversation. It was developed to help young women recognize the importance of a father to their future child. For nearly 20 years, this program has been reaching out to help young people think and communicate about these issues. It has been evaluated and the results are very positive. It is a program that has changed lives. I am very proud to have been a part of this program and know that the work is not done. We need more opportunity to reach out to the next generation of parents with the information and the conversations provided by DMAD.

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

My role as a program founder and a board member

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

the energy of the young people and the trainers who participate

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

dedicated to youth and families

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

reach out on a national basis

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

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

For the teen teachers Dads Make A Difference is the ultimate youth development experience. Not only do they gain personnal insights into the value of involved fathers but they demonstrate skills as effective educators and and leaders for younger students. I continue to be proud of these dynamic and dedicated youth.

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? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

I have been an advisor to the development and implementation of the program since its inception. Dads Make a Difference has been a critically important innovation to address the issue of parenting too soon and father involvement in Minnesota. It has played a seminal role in creating dialogue with youth about parenting, mentorship and positive peer advocacy that has contributed to why teen parentage has declined over the last several years thus creating positive futures and eliminating barriers to education and employment for thousands of Minnesota youth..

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

Quite 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? 
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?