How Dad Central is Adapting to the Current Realities

It’s hard to believe three months of 2020 are almost gone. With so much happening in the last few weeks with the COVID-19 pandemic, the current realities present unique challenges and are stretching many to their limit. With daily life so disrupted, and such uncertainty ahead, we want you to know that Dad Central is here for you.

Reflections After My First Month

by Drew Soleyn It’s hard to believe that I’ve officially been in the role of Director, Dad Central Ontario for almost a month.  How time has flown.  Now that I can take a moment to reflect, I’m excited to introduce myself to our community. I’m also excited to share my observations and enthusiasm for the …

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Fathering in a New Land – update

We are pleased to announce that Fathering in a New Land is now free! And we are inviting newcomer fathers, their families, and anyone who supports or works with them to join us.  This will be an afternoon of information, conversation, and connecting focused on the issues and experiences of newcomer fathers. We will hear …

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The Father of All Dads Groups

by John Hoffman The Father of All Dads Groups Please forgive me if my enthusiasm gets a little over the top in this blog about Dad Club London. But, Whoa Daddy! These guys are awesome! Dad Club London (DCL) was launched in April 2013 by Jeremy McCall, a social services professional who wanted to connect …

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Becoming a Dad is as Good a Reason to Quit Smoking as Any

by John Hoffman Are you a smoker? Thought about quitting? No doubt you have. I have never been a  smoker myself. So I don’t feel qualified to give people advice about how to go about  quitting. However, few would argue the point that the health-related reasons for quitting  are compelling. And when you become a father there’s another big reason – setting a  good example (and being healthy) for your kids.     But, as we all know, smoking is an addiction, and addictions are hard to break. So  anybody who wants to quit usually needs more than just willpower. Fortunately, there are  now some great supports and products to help people quit including nicotine patches and  nicotine gum. And there is now a great Canadian resource called Dads in Gear for fathers  who want to quit smoking. Dads in Gear is about more than just quitting smoking. It’s  also about healthy lifestyle and plain old being a good dad. But quitting smoking is a  primary focus.    One thing I really like about the site is the personal stories about quitting. I particularly  liked a video where a young dad named David talks about his reasons for quitting and  how he went about it. I really admire his honesty and his very direct way of speaking.  David tells a story about how three guys he was working with – all smokers - had all  come to work one day without cigarettes. That day was going to be day one of quitting  for them. David was all like, “I’m really going to try with you guys.” But in the back of  his mind he was thinking there was no way he could really do it. “I am not going to be  able to come to work without a pack of cigarettes,” he said. “Because it goes hand in  hand. You go to work and you bring your smokes. You make sure you have them before  you start your day.”    What’s interesting is that, of that group of four, David is the only one who ended up  quitting. And it was the thought of his family, particularly his baby son that motivated  him. “I didn’t want to be a father that smoked,” he says simply. David wanted his son to  grow up in a smoke-free environment, unlike himself, who grew up in a house where  both parents smoked.  But the thought of his family kept him going; that plus the fact that, as he puts it, “I really didn’t want to smoke.” David says he never used non-smoking aids to stop the cravings. “I just thought about my  family. I felt like I would be a failure to them if I’m trying to quit smoking and then, here  I am having a cigarette.” At the time the video was made, David had been cigarette-free  for eight months. Ironically, he doesn’t feel like he’s an ideal role model. He’s afraid that  his story might seem to make it sound like quitting smoking is easier than it really is. “It  was really, really hard at times,” he says. But, the thought of his family kept him going;  that plus the fact that, as he puts it, “I really didn’t want to smoke.”    I have to think that this kind of personal story – unscripted, just a guy saying it in his own  words – is more effective than some expert rehashing all the health risks of smoking.  Most smokers already know the risks.     Dads in Gear has other personal quitting stories as well. The site also has information and  videos about healthy eating, active lifestyle, things to do with kids and information about  Dads in Gear groups in different towns in BC. It’s one of the best new resources for  fathers that I’ve seen recently.     And if a guy who wants to quit (and most smokers do and have tried at some point),  becoming a father is as good a motivation as I can think of. Dads in Gear is there to help. 

Gotta Love Those Dad and Me Drop-in Programs

by John Hoffman A few years ago, as part of a project, I did an unscientific survey of Canadian programs for fathers. One of the most striking results was that the most common type of program for fathers was what I call the Saturday morning Dad and Me drop-in type program. These programs usually run …

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Regent Park

There is momentum for fathering programs in the Regent Park Community in Toronto.   As part of their program planning that includes increasing father involvement, Parents For Better Beginnings is having a number of Dads & Kids Days in the winter: sledding in January; a winter carnival in February; ice skating in March. They have put out …

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