Catholic Family Service was honored to receive a Nonprofit Innovation Award from the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) on May 2.

We were recognized for “embracing risk” by including young fathers in a long-established program for pregnant and parenting teenaged mothers in Calgary.

Fathers Moving Forward was introduced in 2015 by our Board and staff despite the cultural shift required to welcome fathers at Louise Dean Centre.

This excerpt from an article published in CCVO’s Further Magazine describes our journey:

The risks were real and many days were hard. Several tough conversations needed to be had at all levels of the organization as the entrenched, negative narratives directed toward young fathers were uprooted and questioned. Some staff became passionate advocates of serving dads, while others made the difficult choice to leave.
“Serving fathers was an intense emotional reaction for people,” explains CEO Patricia Jones. “The key is having ongoing conversations and leaning in to the many complex emotions that surround the issue.”
Coming on board as the first male employee in the nearly fifty-year history of the Louise Dean Centre, Shane Lynch is in many ways the face of change in CFS’ transformation to being father friendly.
“If you think dads are deadbeats when you connect with them, they’ll know. However, if you can withhold that judgment, you create safety and trust,” Shane says.
“They may have made bad choices and they may make more, but for the time we spend together it’s going to be a connective, open experience for them that will create a change in the way they relate to their partner and child.”

Fathers Moving Forward provides young fathers aged 16-26 with learning and support groups on being a dad, parenting together (a couples’ group), and money management. An ongoing comprehensive evaluation of the program will contribute significantly to the sparse body of knowledge about effective parenting interventions for young at-risk fathers.

Read the full article, Dads Matter Too, published in the Spring 2017 issue of Further Magazine.

Congratulations to Calgary Aging in Place Cooperative and Oneball Charitable Cancer Organization for also receiving a Nonprofit Innovation Award this year.  And thank you so much to the CCVO for your recognition and encouragement.