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Community Spotlight: Healthy Start Manatee Launches Progressive Fathers Initiative

From left to right: Tearon Bottley, Jeff Douglas, Ryan Mosley, Tim Brice Sr., Cameron Wortham, and Darvin Searls

BRADENTON – The Healthy Start Coalition of Manatee County, in partnership with United Community Centers, launched a new fathers’ support program yesterday, the Progressive Fathers Initiative, at the Thirteenth Avenue Dream Center in Bradenton.

The purpose of the Progressive Fathers group is to engage, educate, and empower dads to be the foundation of the family.  The initiative strives to assist fathers with identifying and overcoming any barriers within the family structure that may interfere with this overarching goal, such as assistance and referrals for mental health and/or substance abuse counseling, educational issues, financial concerns, and parenting and health education. Fathers will be linked to community resources and services, as appropriate.

At last night’s first group meeting, dads had a chance to get to know each other and begin building a supportive network. “We are here to change the world, one father at a time,” said Darvin Searls, Healthy Start Manatee Care Coordinator and facilitator of the Progressive Fathers group.

Dads can benefit from education, information, and support at the monthly meetings, which will cover topics such as personal responsibility, fatherhood, parenting, and communication skills, among others. All dads are welcome to attend the Progressive Fathers Initiative on the third Wednesday of the month from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the 13th Ave. Dream Center, 922 24th St. E. in Bradenton. The next meeting is April 17.

Contact Darvin Searls at 941-708-6111, ext. 107 or darvin@hsmanatee.com for more information.


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