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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.

Community Stories

72 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.