Not all families in South Carolina celebrate Father’s Day. But the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families works to help families build relationships so Father’s Day is a celebration for them.
“The father is the example for a young lady for what she should look for in a man. For a son, it’s the example of what he should be as a man,” said Wallace Evans Jr., Executive Director of A Father’s Place, one of several locations and programs offered through the Center for Fathers and Families.
Evans said many young people are missing the model of manhood provided by fathers. That’s why his program offers services for men.
“A lot of the men did not have a father involved in their lives and though they don’t want to repeat that vicious cycle, they end up falling into that same pattern,” he said.
“There’s a critical link between a father’s ability to provide financially and materially for his children and the consistency of his involvement,” Evans said. “What we’ve done as a society is we reduce the role of the father down to the size of his wallet.”
The program offers employment help, job counseling, personal development, parenting literacy, mediation, assistance navigating child support, visitation and custody issues, legal rights, weekly peer support meetings, financial literacy, substance abuse referrals and economic stability.
“I look at us as a one-stop shop for fathers,” he said. “We provide an array of support and services. Of course, a number of the men that come into our program, the prevailing problem is unemployment or under-employment. So we have extensive career employability services. We have an employment boot camp. We seek to build their esteem and let them know they can achieve great things and that they do have a significant purpose.”
“A Father’s Place is grounded in mission and real-world solutions,” said Regional Director for Development Lyn Rumage. “For example, it’s impossible for a father to financially support his children if he cannot find work. Thus, job readiness is a core component of our offerings. Participants receive help getting a GED or advancing their education; they learn how to search for a job, how to write a resume, how to answer interview questions, what to wear – all the things you can’t know unless you’ve been taught.
“We’re going to come up with a plan of action that’s unique to each one of those men that’s in our program,” Evans said. “To help them become established and the fathers that they need to be.”
Evans described the program as a “brotherhood of fathers,” who help society know that “the institution of fatherhood is still valuable.”
In 2017, the center’s programs helped 1,022 fathers find jobs. It also saved South Carolina taxpayers $7.8 million through its Jobs Not Jail program.