For many men, asking for support can be very intimidating. Society’s expectations of men as workers and providers can make them feel undervalued and overwhelmed, while having to keep a stiff upper lip. Good Fathers Only, a membership-based parent support program, is seeking to break down those barriers and offer men the tools they need to be the best fathers they can be.
The nonprofit provides new and seasoned fathers with parenting techniques, resources and information, and provides an outlet for support like suicide awareness. “The average father thinks, we do all these things for our kids, but we’re not appreciated,” says Calvin Mann, founder of Good Fathers Only. “Being validated is a huge thing.”
The organization is the result of more than 10 years of work that started with Mann’s Encourage Me I’m Young program, created to mentor young men. Good Fathers Only is an extension of this mission to improve the lives of young men and their families. The group celebrates fathers and fatherhood, from the inspirational slogans, also found on their apparel, to marching for fathers in the Labor Day parade.
In June, the group is celebrating its second annual Fatherhood Unity Month. Each week, the group will cover a different topic, from building financial skills to tips for newer fathers. Dads interested in joining can enroll in an annual membership which gives them access to events and other resources. In a partnership between the two groups, members of Good Fathers Only are encouraged to serve as mentors for children in the Encourage Me I’m Young program.
The pairing has been so successful that they have launched a capital campaign to create a dedicated empowerment center for the program. Mann hopes highlighting the importance of fathers will help change the narratives around fatherhood. “I believe when young men see the value of fatherhood, it gives them something to look forward to.”