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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Dads Make A Difference

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Family Counseling, Leadership Development, Youth Community Service Clubs

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 April 2016, DMAD trained 3,095 teen peer educators from 170 schools and community agencies across the state. These teens in turn taught the curriculum to about 79,000 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.

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

72 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

I served as a board member with DMAD for 6 years and the organization opened my eyes to issues relating to "younger" parenting issues that I wasn't even aware of. The work of DMAD should be on a national level, and hopefully one day will be. The staff and volunteers do an excellent job teaching parenting issues to youth in an approachable and understanding manner. Personally, this experience changed my perceptions and presented me with values and education to pass onto my own children.

mjoberweiser

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a vital and much needed service to our youth & future generations. I have observed and heard many stories of what an impact this program can make. There is a value in programs such as this that touch the whole community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Derrick B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have the pleasure of serving on the board of DMAD and truly appreciate the contributions the organization makes to the community. The program and services offered do a great deal to education our young generation and promote healthy choices about relationships. I am honored to be a part of such a wonderful and positively productive organization.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 4

Serving on the Board has been a great pleasure to see first hand how this organization impacts the lives of young people in such a positive way. The best part is always hearing the stories from young adults of how the program helped them make better choices throughout their young lives.

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Donor

Rating: 4

Dads Make a Difference promotes the positive involvement of fathers and educates youth about healthy relationships and responsible parenting. These messages remain as important to young people today as they were when DMAD was started in 1993, some 21 years ago, helping to build the capacity of young people to develop strong future families that can contribute to strong, vibrant communities.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Dads Make a Difference training for my Future Educators has been a great compliment to our program at Como Park Senior High School. It contains valuable lessons for our student/trainers, and for the young people they will go out to teach it to.

Previous Stories

Advisor

Rating: 4

My Future Educators have received valuable training through the Dads Make a Difference program. They have gone out to junior high schools in the area, and have been able to prove their leadership skills.

Board Member

Rating: 4

There is nothing as important as helping young adults make good decisions in their teens so that they have more opportunities with their futures. The education DMAD provides helps young adults form healthy relationships and promotes delaying becoming parents too soon by providing information about the challenges of parenting. It is realistic in its approach and inclusive in its definition of family and comprehensive by providing more than just sex education but also teaching decision making skills.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Dads Make a Difference is an amazing program that works with the community to build better relationships between fathers and their children; educate youth on what it takes to be a responsible parent and the benefits of having an active father. This program builds better parents of the future and helps facilitate better relationships within the family unit.

Donor

Rating: 5

A former board member for 6 years, I witnessed first hand the impact this program had on teens and the education that is so badly needed for youth. I continue to contribute as a donor as I firmly believe in the education it represents and hope this education will become a part of every teens education in the future. Wish this education was available to me as a youth!!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with DMAD since 2008 in a capacity of a board member. Since that time I've witnessed the powerful message that is brought to young adults throughout MN. I am privelaged to work with such a dynamic group to provide parenting education to both young men and young women in our community about the aspects of parenting and challenges of parenting too soon.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

DMAD has research to prove that it creates long-term attitude and behavior chang among teens in preventing too early pregnancy and parenthood.

It has successfully trained about 8,000 students in its 21 years of existance and it has created an in demand cirriculum.

This agency really delivers results.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Dads Make a Difference uses teenagers to train middle school students about the importance of respect, about the the issue of parenting too soon, and about how important it is to involve fathers with their families. The mentoring relationship and peer advocacy model really works, and the Wilder foundation did a study to prove that DMAD training creates lasting attitude change. DMAD has contributed to the decrease in teen pregnancies in Minnesota. It is an exceptional organization.

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Linda297

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor to Dad's Make a Difference because I believe in this great organization and the work it does. Everyone involved is passionate about their cause and it shows in the difference they make in the community. Young people's lives are touched in a way that empowers them to find their voice and make a difference in the lives of others.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for Dads Make A Difference for about 6 years now, and LOVE the program. I myself was a high schooler who attended my DMAD training and absolutely loved going into my local middle schools and teaching the curriculum. So much so that I reached out to Jan about becoming an adult trainer once I began college. She graciously accepted my offer, and I have greatly enjoyed working with Jan and the other trainers ever since. Jan is kind, courteous, and has a deep passion for this cause that is near and dear to her heart. It is my belief that learning the responsibilities of parenting is a key element to a person's overall success and is important to learn at an early age. Not only do children obtain a deeper level of respect for what their parents do for them, but they also begin to develop values that they will carry with them throughout life and into parenting years of their own. The curriculum is diverse, fun, and most importantly; open to all ideas, opinions, and personal stories. I know I do not only speak for myself when I say that Dads Make A Difference is a learning experience that one carries in their heart for a lifetime.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently attended an anniversary celebration for Dads Make a Difference (DMAD) and the testimonials from past participants, trainers, health educators, Minnesota State Department of Human Services, community nonprofit leaders, sexuality education professionals, youth workers, teachers--a range of folks involved in the organization's long history--gave further evidence of the power of this youth development organization and its curriculum to positively enhance the healthy development of Minnesota youth. It is a peer education program that has effectively educated youth about healthy relationships, sexual decision making and the important role of fathers for many years. We need to ensure that it continues to evolve in ways that allow it to educate and influence future generations of Minnesota youth.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I strongly endorse the worth of Dads Make A Difference (DMAD) to our community--its 20-year history of educating young people about the importance of fathers, about relationships and safe sexual decision-making. The steady and creative stewardship of this organization by Executive Director Jan Hayne (during difficult economic times) and a committed cadre of volunteers have kept it afloat and allowed it to continue to play an active role in educating youth in the twin cities and greater Minnesota. As a current Board Member and Youth Development Professional, I highly recommend the DMAD organization and encourage you to learn more about it via its website www.dadsmakeadifference.org. And if you can, I also encourage you to make a donation so it can continue its good work.

Shirley15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dads Make a Difference meets a definite need and utilizes a proven curriculum model based on research for training and outreach. Past participants become some of the staff when training is done again. A great, proven model that makes a difference in the lives of young Dads and ultimately, their child/ren.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My daughter took the Dads Makes a Difference training back when she was in high school and she became a participant at Como High School to inform others! DMAD training provided insight for my daughter who had an absent father to give her some hope and understanding around the importance of dads. Being a board member was easy because I have seen the personal value of the vision and mission of this organization's impact on my family! Great work!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

miarx003

Volunteer

Rating: 5

DMAD has been a part of my journey from teenhood to adulthood. I first met the founder of Dads, Jan Hayne, six years ago. I could immediately sense her passion as she told her story, and shared the mission of this amazing non-profit. The curriculum is timeless and yet fresh, traditional and yet innovative, and consistent year after year in core values, life lessons, and practical applications. It is a privilege to work with such amazing people who share Jan's mission of responsible parenting and the importance of relationship building. Students learn it, love it, and share it with their peers, family and friends, and in the digital world we live in, the positive energy Jan brings to her students is shared across the nation.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being involved in Dads has been an extremely rewarding experience. I attended training as a high school student, and knew right then that I wanted to stay involved in this program. It is obvious that Jan has a deep passion for the organization and so do her volunteers. I hope to stay involved in DMAD for a very long time. Great program, great people, great cause!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dads Make a Difference is a program that changes lives. This curriculum not only helps young people make healthy decisions to plan for their futures but it also builds leadership skills and protective factors for young people who are struggling or facing challenges in their own lives. It creates a ripple effect that touches so many people and continues to impact young people in middle school, high school and beyond. It helps create a fuller picture of parenthood particularly for children born to young and/or single parents. It helps build community among trainers, peer educators, their students and staff that weaves a thread of hope and resilience for all young people.

Board Member

Rating: 5

A fantastic non profit organization that maximizes its resources to deliver exceptional services that benefit so many.

1 Kellen M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

DMAD brings much needed content and learning to today's youth. No other nonprofit serves such a diverse group of teens. Without this program, many of our younger adults would be in a much different place personally, professionally and mentally.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Dads Make a Difference focuses on a market/community that we need to focus on more critically. Our children need to understand the role of fathers, and their role in their children's lives. DMAD helps teenagers get a better understanding of the necessity for healthy, continued father/child relationships. With this increased education, our communities and family structure are enriched - building better better communities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since 1991, I have worked as a clinical social worker in the Twin Cities, and among many other things, have coordinated programs that serve young and older fathers in the lives of children. I began work with DMAD in 1993 as a curriculum trainer because I was amazed to see such a progressive and creative approach to serving our youth. Since my first training with the DMAD family, I have been deeply moved by the power of this curriculum, and touched by the warm and personable staff that gather (like groupies to the band they love). My eldest son, NIcco was very soon to be born in Early February of 2001. We had a DMAD training, and I clearly remember, standing on a stage (post training) in St. Paul, waiting for our DMAD team picture to be taken. I had my cell phone on... waiting for a call from my then-wife to say something like: "get your butt home, our baby is on his way!" The DMAD non-profit is rare, dignified, and extremely progressive. Our world needs more dedicated and creative efforts put forth toward the underserved youth and family members in our world. Healthy male involvement is a hall mark of an evolved society. I heartily salute the Dad's Make A Difference program and all those who have the brilliant conviction and audacious courage to stand with it!

- Jeffry Jeanetta-Wark, MA. LICSW
Lead clinician and owner of the Center for Integrated Well-Being, Inc.

Robert90

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with this program has influenced many life changing events for me. It helped my gain confidence in my teenage years, learn leadership skills and it influenced choices I made. After being a teen trainer teaching middle school students that's what I decided to do for a career. Most importantly it helped me choose an amazing dad for my two children.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Want to work with a program with a mission purely to serve youth; utlitizing a youth teaching youth model? You are at the write place. Dads Make a Difference was a seed in the early 90s but it was rooted itself in the hearts and minds of those lucky to have participated in the program. It's research-based, interactive, and asks youth to plan for their future. Absolutely fabulous.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Although I am no longer an active teacher in this program, the experience still resonates in the daily work I experience with my students. Dads Make a Difference re-framed the way in which I listen to my students' stories. It also provided a foundation in viewing how peer-to-peer training is a most effective model in reaching adolescents. And, the message of Dads Make a Difference is universal -- the positive role of fathers in children's lives benefits all children.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

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..

Advisor

Rating: 4

Dads Make a Difference is an excellent program. I have had two groups of my high school Future Educators trained with Dads Make a Difference. The training is great fun for the students and very valuable. They were so excited to go out to teach to the junior high! I am very impressed with the Dads Make a Difference curriculum.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

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

punky10

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!"