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FATHER Project celebrates 25 years & expands to St. Cloud

“I learned almost a decade ago that there are very few resources for men, so I appreciate that Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s FATHER Project program focuses on supporting men in a way that is unique to the issues that men face,” explains Latisha Porter, FATHER Project’s new program manager. FATHER Project provides free resources to parents including job assistance, case management and support groups to help parents overcome barriers that prevent them from supporting their children economically and emotionally.

FATHER Project celebrates 25 years & expands to St. Cloud

2024-06-07 08:46:00
A male and female hugging.
A female wearing a black turtle neck and a herringbone black and white cardigan.

Latisha Porter, manager of FATHER Project, embraces Elwyn, a former program participant and current volunteer parent group facilitator.

 

“I learned almost a decade ago that there are very few resources for men, so I appreciate that Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s FATHER Project program focuses on supporting men in a way that is unique to the issues that men face,” explains Latisha Porter, FATHER Project’s new program manager.

FATHER Project provides free resources to parents including job assistance, case management and support groups to help parents overcome barriers that prevent them from supporting their children economically and emotionally. Founded in 1999 by the City of Minneapolis, the FATHER (Fostering Actions To Help Earnings and Responsibility) Project became a program of Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota in 2004. Since then, FATHER Project has served thousands of fathers in the Twin Cities and Rochester through an extensive network of community partners.

“FATHER Project is dedicated to helping men navigate government programs and connecting them to community resources,” Latisha further explains. “We provide direct case management and career navigation services, in addition to creating spaces for men to engage with their children with activities.”

As only the second manager in the program’s 25-year history, Latisha says she is excited to take the program to the next level, adding it has untapped potential.

With a recent $2 million allocation to the program from the Minnesota Legislature, FATHER Project recently expanded to provide services in St. Cloud. “The men [in St. Cloud] face the same disparities that men in the metro area face. They experience the same lack of resources, and they require the same advocacy services,” Latisha explained.

Recently, Latisha bumped into a FATHER Project participant outside the office. “He said, ‘if she can see us without judgement and still ride for us, we’re gonna be alright.’” She added that, “this parent secured custody of his oldest child, went from homeless to being housed, and is on the verge of securing employment. He attends a parent group weekly and engages with his FATHER Project advocates almost daily. His story is just one, but it is the beginning of what I envision for this program and the men of the community.”

“We’re in a unique position to improve community by reinforcing the importance of the relationship between a dad and their child,” Latisha said.

FATHER Project is hosting its annual summer picnic “United in Brotherhood: A Salute to Fathers” on Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Minnehaha Falls Park in Minneapolis. All are welcome. View event flyer.

Learn more and help others get connected to the nearly 20 career training and services from Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota.