June 18, 2018

South Carolina fatherhood programs in the spotlight on Father’s Day

The South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families has a mission to reduce child poverty through father engagement, helping fathers become great dads. It is the hub of a unique statewide network of program centers and satellite offices serving fathers and families in every county of the state. Several of its fatherhood programs received media coverage around Father’s Day, including the Man 2 Man Fatherhood Initiative, Midlands Fatherhood Coalition and the Upstate Fatherhood Coalition.

Tom Keith, president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, also wrote a guest column for The State that appeared on Father’s Day about the importance of fathers. The full text of his column is below. The South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina are ministries of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

Fathers are life-changing. So is their absence.

by Tom Keith
President and CEO, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina

On Father’s Day, we celebrate the importance of fathers as we take time to recognize all fathers, both past and present. Far too often, a father is missing from the home, which has many negative consequences on the children.

We know that children living in poverty and without a father present in the household are five times more likely to end up in poverty themselves. They also experience higher incidents of juvenile crime, poor performance in school, teen pregnancy and several other problems.

The S.C. Center for Fathers and Families dedicates its efforts to help reconnect low-income fathers with their children. Many of these fathers want to be involved, but their lives have become so complicated that they do not know where to start.

Through fatherhood programs offered in every county in South Carolina, the Center for Fathers helps hundreds of fathers get jobs, receive their education, build stronger parenting skills and become a contributing member of the community. But most of all, they are becoming good fathers and helping their children both financially and emotionally, by being present in their lives.

One situation involved a young father who was unemployed, using drugs and totally disconnected from his children. Fast forward three years, and now that father is clean, has his GED and a job and is fully engaged with his children and is regularly paying child support.

This remarkable turnaround is just one example of what is truly possible. The center helped this father transform his life, and the same thing has happened with many others.

So as we remember our own fathers this Father’s Day, we have much to be thankful for and a lot to celebrate.

Whether you are a father or grandfather or great grandfather, it is your time to take pride in what it really means to be a dad.

For those who are struggling as fathers, we wish you peace, hope and better times ahead.

Being a father is not just a label or title. It’s a lifelong commitment and responsibility to your children and their future.

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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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