Dads Supporting Dads


Dads Supporting Dads

Friday, December 20, 2019



WINDHAM/WILLIMANTIC — In the 21st century, modern dads are shifting from "babysitting" or " daddy duty," and instead trying to take an active role in their child’s development.

To help them, one local health center offers fatherhood classes, aptly named " 24/7 Dad."

The next session of 24/7 Dad starts Jan. 8 at the Generations Family Health Center in Willimantic.

The free, 12-week series on fatherhood is open to anyone who wants to improve their fathering skills, whether they are new dads, new stepdads, new foster or adopting dads or any male caregivers in general.

The course takes place Wednesdays from 4: 30 to 6: 30 p. m. at Generations at 40 Mansfield Ave., Willimantic.

Fatherhood Family Support Provider Travis West said, when he first started offering programs like these about six years ago, there were few programs designed for fathers.

" When I first became a dad, there wasn’t anything around for dads," West said. "Dads weren’t expected to do as much. Everything is geared toward moms. So it’s nice to see something geared toward dads."

West said, for example, when he did drop- off and pick- up at school, he used to get weird looks because he was the only father there.

The series covers many different topics new fathers may face, like discipline, communication and development issues. Other issues modern dads may face are covered, such as co-parenting for parents that may be separated or blended families.

Although the series covers these specific topics, fathers are encouraged to discuss any issues they may be working through.

" We’re never going to be perfect," West said. " We’re always going to grow and learn from each other."

For example, at one recent meeting, one father discussed how he and his child’s mother were going to " split" the holidays between each parent.

The dads also discussed Christmas shopping and what gifts their children requested.

Participants during that meeting explained why they wanted to enroll in the series.

"When I was growing up, my mom was a heavy alcoholic," Willimantic resident Jon Standish said. " I didn’t want to be like how my mom was, always aggressive, always abusive."

Standish has three children ages 5, 3 and 7 months old.

Windham resident Josh Williamson, father of a 14-month-old, said he signed up to hopefully learn better co- parenting skills.

" It’s an excellent education," Williamson said. " I want what’s best for my son, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to learn more."

The program is open to anyone, regardless of whether they are Generations patients.

West said, in addition to 24/ 7 Dad, the Doctor Dad workshop series teaches fathers health and safety for babies and toddlers.

The next Doctor Dad workshop will start Feb. 10 at 5 p. m. in the Willimantic WIC Office at the Access Community Action Agency at 1315 Main St.

In addition to fatherhood programs, West also offers a men’s group. The free group meets next Jan. 18 from 10 a. m. to 11: 30 a. m. at the Willimantic Generations.

The men’s group covers all issues that may relate to men, not just fathers.

These programs are offered through the Nurturing Families Network program from Generations.

For more information or to register for the programs, contact West at 860-450-7471, ext. 6308, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Follow Claire Galvin on Twitter - @CGalvinTC