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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.

Community Stories

72 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My students have been involved over the past 5 years and it has taught my students so much as well as the middle school students. I can't say enough for this program and for Jan Hayne and all the work she does. I recommend this program highly to anyone who would dare to be involved.Darci Cyr, Eagan High School Educator

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have been having our students from the Alternative school teach Dads make a Difference for several years now. I get students trained, and they teach it in our Health Class. Having our students teach how important fathers are in childrens life, makes a much better impact on others. The student teachers share their stories which makes the class more interesting. I am very happy to have had this opportunity to have this curriculum in our school. thanks. caroline Unke

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with DMAD since 1998-first as a student trainer, then as a college intern and lastly as an adult trainer. The information I have learned through my experiences with DMAD I use in all the other facets of my life. My relationships with family and friends have improved due to the knowledge gained and taught in DMAD as well as helping me become a better social worker. I have seen hundreds of high schoolers go through this program, enjoy it and learn a lot about themselves and what they want for their future. The information provided by this curriculum is more important than ever before and will assist teenagers in making healthy, positive choices.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was trained into the program in 1996 as a sophmore in high school. The program help me personally and helped clarify my feelings for my own situation. I had a complicated relationship with my father and this program helped me resolve alot of the issues I had in my own life. I enjoyed teaching in the middle schools as well as participated as a trainer for DMAD. This program has so much "heart". The experinces I have had with DMAD are priceless!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to DMAD in 2002. I was still a high school student, who had very loose ties to my father. I spent a lot of time in the following years volunteering with DMAD and teaching the progam to middle shcool students. Through seeing the stories of others, I was given the courage to strengthen my relationship with my own father. since 2004, I my relationship with my father has become just as strong as anyone else's. I think DMAD has a great effect on other people like me. It is a 5 Star Organization without question. Those who serve on the board, and those who founded the program have HUGE hearts.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have been involved in DMAD for at least the past 10 years. I love that it is peer-taught and the students really respond to the curriculum. Jan Hayne does a nice job of setting up the trainings and the curriculum is kept up to date and relevant to the age group. The communication has been wonderful and professional. The students deserve to have this presented to them.

lsweet

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dads Make a Difference is a unique program in which participants can literally grow up in the program. They start as middle school participants and can become trainers. The team that teaches the curriculum is like a family and provides great roll modeling to high school participants who in turn role model to middle schoolers it should be a required curriculum in the state.

Previous Stories
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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This program is great in that it not only teaches young people about responsibilities and consequences of too early parenting, it also builds leadership capacity in the teens who are peer educators. The curriculum addresses peer pressure, responsible choices, family planning, paternity education and more. This unique program offers so much to high school students, middle schoolers and the adult who support it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I was introduced to DMAD back in 1997 while working as a Teen Parent Teacher for an ALC in St. Paul. I felt really good about bringing my students (both parents and others interested) to these trainings! It was a very thoughtful, researched-based approach to positive youth development and also I felt the excitement of watching my students in their cross-age teaching of Junior high school students! I would highly recommend any schools or organizations interested in helping support the youth to bring teens to a training or have them come teach in your Junior High School. Students take these topics very seriously and are eager for guidance & direction from all of us caring & encouraging adults in their lives!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got involved in this program as a high school student and then went on to teach middle school students the Dads Make a Difference curriculum. Shortly, after I also became a trainer and continue to train when I can. This is an amazing program that I feel so lucky to be a part of because it has impacted myself and my life in so many ways and so many other people as well. Now a mother of two, I realize even more now how important it is to get out this message to youth about making responsisble choices. It helped me, and every child deserves to have the best their parents can offer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with DMAD when I was 15 years old back back in November of 2002. I was a you man who had no idea who his father was. After two years of learning/teaching the DMAD curriculum, I was encouraged enough to seek out my own father and ever since, I have had a great relationship with my father. I believe that if it weren't for DMAD, there is no way that I would have such a great relationship with the father's half of my family. nearly 8 years later, I am still very grateful for DMAD. Hopefully it is touching other young people the way that it touched me.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Dads make a Difference is a small but effective not for profit that truly serves a great purpose. They focus not only on the importance of dads but beyond that they focus on the importance of being an active parent. The power of the activities is its focus on education of young adults on the importance of active parents. This helps shape young adults decision making about when to become a parent and all the responsbility it entails.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

DMAD is a very important part of my life. I was trained in 1994 as a student, after being inspired by the all of the positive aspects of the program I was asked to be a trainer. I have worked with DMAD since 1995 educating hundreds of young people about the imporatance of fater's in children's lives. I have seen the impact that it has made on young people and their choices about becoming a parent to young or being a better parent if they already had children. I have had students come up to me after the traning to let me know what a difference the program made in their lives. I would love to see the program continue and grow so it can reach even more young people who certainly need all the support and direction they can get in this difficult world we currently live in.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have done the "Dads Make a Difference " Curriculum for many years now and I really think the information is currect, gets the students involved, and the students enjoy it as well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have seen first-hand, many times over the excellent impact that Dads Make a Difference has in the lives of youth in Minnesota. The program brings into discussion difficult topics that can be dismissed in schools and families that are integral to the positive personal growth in young people. The curriculum is not static--it grows and changes with current issues, and the people involved are passionate and committed to its success.

Client Served

Rating: 4

The students were able to see things in a different perspective and they learned a lot. I also learned a lot and it has helped me become better at what I do as well.

Board Member

Rating: 4

I am impressed with Dads make a Difference focus on teaching youth that fathers play an important role in their children lives. Also teaching the importance of delaying parenting until one is emotionally and financially ready.

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Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

The experience teaching in the classrooms were like no other experience to date. Middle school and highschool students are more receptive to learning from their peers or aspiring peers moreso then learning from teachers. THe message resinates far easier this way.