Divine Alternatives for Dads Services Programs
DADS helps fathers learn skills necessary to effectively navigate in systems of authority that often create barriers to parental responsibility and accountability. Many of DADS' clients have outstanding issues with the Office of Support Enforcement. DADS helps men negotiate for modification hearings. It encourages men who have not been paying child support to make regular and consistent payments in line with their financial ability. DADS connects fathers to other sources of support with regards to employment so that they can have a source of income to make payments. Part of this process is mentoring fathers in how to create positive communication with the child's mother.
Ninety percent of DADS' clients are fathers who have been incarcerated and /or who are transitioning back to their home communities. DADS teaches classes in Department of Corrections halfway houses in King and Pierce County. DADS models for men that there are alternatives to life in the streets. Marvin and Jeanett Charles, co-founders of DADS give men hope. They educate men that they are important to their children regardless of their ability to provide economic support to the family. They also help men see that they need their children. When men discover the joy of being in their children's lives they have powerful motivation to stay clean and sober and out of jail.
DADS is open to men of any religious faith, but it has a special place for men who have found strength in their acceptance of Jesus. DADS offers Bible Study and prayer groups for those men who seek spiritual guidance. DADS also offers weekly support groups. Regardless of the group, men become aware that there is a special, healing strength that comes from intimate conversation with other men. Most men come to DADS believing that they cannot trust anyone to look after their own needs. DADS reveals the healing power of healthy relationships. Men discover changed relationships with their sons and grandfathers as well as their wives and significant others.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
DADS is located in Rainier Valley, close to the families who experience high rates of poverty, low academic achievement, family dislocation, crime, and other measures of urban failure. DADS is welcoming to young and old, people of any race or ethnicity, and people across the economic spectrum. Clients can come in and get assistance with their problems from people who look like them and talk like them. Because staff and volunteers understand the barriers to change, they are not discouraged when progress gets derailed from short-term barriers to parent-child visitation, employment, or drug rehabilitation. These system navigators walk along side of the fathers and gives them the encouragement to do the right things in the right order rather than give in to anger and despair. DADS does "the basement work" in order to help the fathers create a strong foundation for future gains. In this way, DADS builds stronger families and healthier communities.
DADS needs donations to cover operational expenses that are rarely covered by private foundations or state or federal funding opportunities. DADS is seeking professionals who can provide pro bono assistance to clients in the areas of legal services, medical and dental services, and employment. DADS has volunteer opportunities in areas of data entry, administrative support, building maintenance, and fund-raising. Create short-term, single event sponsorship, such as the annual fishing trip or Fatherhood Banquet. Sponsor a child with funding for sports participation, college prep classes, or college tuition. We invite anyone who wants to donate to come spend a day at DADS and see how we run.