April 19, 2016

South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families says hello to three new communities

The South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families has dubbed 2016 as the year of growth for its programs, which means leaders from a network of fatherhood programs supported and coordinated by the center have been introducing themselves and their programs to new communities across South Carolina.

The introductions began in February with a special event to introduce the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition to leaders in Sumter, Lee and Clarendon counties. Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen kicked off the session on the campus of USC-Sumter, telling a story about why he was excited to welcome the program to his town. When he was a legislator working on welfare reform in the 1990s, he noticed there were a lot of programs out there to help mothers, but nothing for dads.

“The key strategy in getting rid of poverty is strengthening families,” said Patricia Littlejohn, executive director for the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families at the event. “This is part of something even bigger in the state of South Carolina.”

Keith Ivey, site director for the new Sumter office, told the crowd he felt like he won the lottery with this job. “Men in this community can be more successful if they know there is someone there to help and guide them,” he said.

The introductions continued a week later in Florence, where center leaders and Man 2 Man executive director Derrick Dease discussed how the program provides services to fathers in Florence and several other cities in the area to support their children and the mothers of their children.

The last stop was on March 24, where the Upstate Fatherhood Coalition visited Anderson to talk about plans for that area.

The South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, which is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, supports six fatherhood programs in South Carolina while promoting father-friendly policies and practices, and helping to erase society's negative stereotype of unwed, low-income dads.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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