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Hubbard County man credits FATHER Project for helping his family succeed

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By Joe Johnson

Jason loves his four kids. He is proud to be living with his wife and children in their newly purchased home. Not long ago, however, he was struggling with the stress of a number of issues, including unemployment and loss of custody of his children.

He wished for one more chance… but it was a huge request. More than anything, he wanted to be a good father and husband. His situation raised the question: How many chances does one get in life?

In a place of despair, Jason remembered a pamphlet that his wife had given to him regarding the FATHER Project. He vividly tells of the day he reached out and met with me as FATHER Project Case Manager. Jason came to the FATHER Project because of the difficulties in his life, unaware of all of the services and support available to him.

Very soon he realized his situation was not unique. He was not alone.

“Group was a place for me to come and share my story,” Jason recalls, “And I wasn’t the only one with a story to tell.” He found the process helpful and loyally attended group parenting sessions.

Assistance was available to him in seeking employment through Kristen Partlow, the FATHER Project’s Employment Consultant. Following a job internship, Jason was able to secure full-time employ-

ment. Opportunities continued for Jason as he completed the program. He graduated from the Nurturing Father Curriculum and was trained to be a Parent Group Facilitator. He continues to work with Partlow exploring educational opportunities.

Life at home changed as well.

He and his wife reconciled, and they are learning a new way to be a couple and family. They’ve purchased a home and now have their children living with them. Jason continues to participate in the FATHER Project and helps when he can with parenting classes. His family attends FATHER Project special events together.

Most recently, Jason returned from the Minnesota Father and Families Network summit where he shared his story of his personal growth with a state audience and attended sessions on fathering.

“My life is completely different,” Jason says. “I love sharing my FATHER Project experience with others to let them know about all of the great things the program does to encourage men and their families to succeed.”

How many chances does one get in life? Perhaps more than anyone knows.

Editor’s note: Joe Johnson and his wife Amanda have two children. He is a licensed master trainer/consultant for St. Joseph’s Area Health Services Community Health Nurturing Fathers Program and is a case manager for the FATHER Project, a program funded by Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota. To learn more about participating in Fathering Skills classes, call him at 255-2063 or e-mail josephjohnson@catholichealth.net.

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