Dukes County Inmates Complete Nurturing Fathers Program

Collaboration between Dukes County Sheriff's Office and Martha's Vineyard Community Services' Family Center...
Bob Moore and Kim D’Arcy, facilitators of the Nurturing Fathers program at the Dukes County House of Correction. (Courtesy of Sheriff Robert Ogden)

Martha's Vineyard - On Tuesday, December 17, three men gathered together for their 13th and final week of the Nurturing Fathers program for incarcerated individuals at the Dukes County Jail and House of Correction. In a moving graduation ceremony, the men, each holding a photograph in their hand of a child (or grandchild), shared in their own words what the program has meant to them, renewing their commitments to the children in their lives.

One man spoke of breaking through negative generational cycles to redefine what unconditional love and healthy fatherhood looks like, vowing to use his new tools to be the father he chooses to be. "The Nurturing Fathers Program is a very good enrichment program for life-long learning”, shared one of the three program graduates. Sheriff Robert Ogden joined the ceremony to commend the graduates for their dedication to building and strengthening their parenting skills. “This is an accomplishment,'' Sheriff Ogden said, encouraging graduates to continue to pursue opportunities for growth that have the potential to help them be successful upon release.

The Nurturing Fathers program, a collaboration between the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ Family Center, is an evidence-based curriculum that teaches parenting and nurturing skills to men. The program was brought to DCSO by MVCS’ Family Center and the Island Wide Youth Collaborative, with additional funding through The Children’s Trust. The Island Wide Youth Collaborative is a DCF-funded program, and the MV Family Center is funded by grants from Massachusetts Children’s Trust and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. The collaboration began in the spring of 2019, when Kim D’Arcy, Family Center Coordinator, and Bob Moore, DCSO Inmate Education Coordinator, attended the 3-day Nurturing Fathers workshop together, completing the certification necessary to facilitate the course with inmates at the Dukes County Jail and House of Correction. D’Arcy and Moore work together each week to bring an experience of education and reflection to inmates, with a broader goal of strengthening family relationships in the community.

“Our goal is to strengthen our community by helping to build strong, secure families where children can grow and thrive.” D’Arcy explains. “The work we do [in this program] is strength based. Parenting is a skill that needs to be taught, and Nurturing Fathers gives participants access to skills to empower them to navigate the dynamics of those relationships; it is the children and families who ultimately benefit.”

“We are so pleased with how receptive these gentlemen have been.” Moore says. “They are developing tools for Communication, Empathy, Negotiation, Compromise, and engaging in reflective practices. ‘How do you want to be as a father? How do you make changes?’ These are the questions they are answering as the author of their own stories as fathers.”

The Dukes County Sheriff’s Office congratulates the 2019 graduates of the Nurturing Fathers Program. The Sheriff’s Office also wishes to thank Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ Family Center and the Island Wide Youth Collaborative. “Kim does such a fantastic job,” says Moore, “We look forward to continuing this program in the future.''

To read further about MVCS’ Family Center, visit www.mvcommunityservices.org. To learn more about the Nurturing Father’s Program, visit their website at www.nurturingfathers.com.

or visit www.dukescountysheriff.com

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