We have a program that we developed that creates a sports Little League. It's a soccer Little League where the kids learn the best way to play the sport and get along with the other kids. And the dads go to a brief parenting meeting and then they spend the rest of the time coaching the kids within the context of the sport and practicing strategies that we know are useful not only in the sports context but also in the home or neighborhood settings that the kids may have some struggles in when they leave the program.
Q: Why a special program only for fathers? What's unique about their situation?
A: Here at the Center for Children and Families at UB, we offer parenting programs almost every night of the week and on Saturdays. When I was in graduate school, one of the things that I noticed was that moms were very good attendees at our programs. They would always show up and follow through and participate. And we have plenty of very dedicated dads but it wasn't necessarily as many as the moms. So we actually asked our families why we don't get as positive participation with the dads as with the moms, and based on some of the feedback they gave us we started to think, well, maybe dads needed a slightly different approach than the kind that's used not only in our place but all over the country for mothers. Through working as a team with some other folks in the center we came up with this program that uses sports as the hook to kind of get fathers and kids involved and helps them maintain participation over a long period of time.
Q: When did that program start, and how successful has it been?