We just wrapped up a teleconference call focused on supporting fathers who live in rural and small communities in Ontario. Here is a list of some best practices we talked about.
- Working with larger employers can help – they are often community minded – can be a great support for engaging fathers and families
- Sports locations – arenas, ball parks, parks and rec, etc.
- Connect with faith communities and service clubs
- Use these locations to offer programs, supply meals, or offer other in-kind support.
- Have local voices – local “authorities” be involved, like business leaders, media people, coaches, education leaders, etc.
- Use existing approaches for how info is shared within the community – backpacks from school, school newsletters, radio stations, etc.
- Go to where the dads are – find where that may be and bring resources, offer discussion groups (informal and formal).
- Talk with the dads about what would help them. Develop program approaches that match the interests and abilities of the fathers.
- Talk with moms about what they notice about fatherhood.
- Be adaptable – flex the times you offer programs
- Keep father involvement on your radar – training, staff development, follow our blog, resources, etc.
- Think broad – what are the issues facing fathers and how can you help address them – employment, housing, mental health, child development – have good referral sources.
- Send information directly to men. Invite them to participate.
- Involve children and significant others in the invitation.
- If you want dads to matter, acknowledge that moms matter too.
- Include engaging activities, interaction with kids; not just discussion and support. Some ideas are Touch a Truck, dog sled demonstrations, Gym Days, Read n Swim, airport visits, fire hall visits, and cooking with dad.
- Let fathers know well ahead so they can plan their time accordingly.
- Ask for on-going feedback about what you are doing to highlight fatherhood.
Other resources that may help:
You may have other ideas. Share them in the comment section.