Historically, fathers have received far less attention than mothers when it comes to parenting. Mothers are often recognized as the primary caregiver whereas fathers are restricted to providing financial stability for the family. However, a father holds a position in the family far beyond just a bread earner; he is crucial for his children’s physical and psychological wellbeing. A father serves as his children’s first role model. This helps his children develop healthy relationships and facilitates their social, physical, and psychological upbringing. The interactions that sons and daughters have with their father act as a blueprint for what a relationship between father and child should look like.
Father to Father is a 501(3) non-profit organization that was established in 1998 and has been serving fathers for more than 20 years. The organization strongly believes that:
A father’s value is tremendous. This is why it’s so important for us to help fathers realize the important contributions they can make.
It is, therefore, the mission of Father to Father to help fathers in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and wherever needed, be a positive and consistent presence in their children’s lives. Father to Father is also chosen as one of the most innovative companies in 2022, and when asked what this means for the organization, Tom Swanciger, the CEO of Father to Father says, “It is such a great achievement for our non-profit. It goes to show that all the hard work that the team has been doing is paying off, which allows us to gain a greater reach in the region and continue building our donor base for such a worthy cause.”
How it started
In 1998, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina offered a series of planning grants to local community organizations to be used to develop programs that would address the issue of absentee fathers in the state of South Carolina. Those groups that received the grants were asked to come up with innovative ways to help low-income, non-custodial fathers overcome the many barriers preventing them from being involved in the upbringing of their children. St. Peter’s AME Church, along with several other local organizations, formed a collaboration to seek one of these grants. Thus, Father to Father, Inc. was born. When we asked Tom Swanciger why he thinks such an idea would work, he said, “Providing unlimited resources to dads to ensure they are positive role models in their children’s lives was and is the ultimate goal of our organization. Making this program available to fathers and having their sessions in a group setting allows our participants to speak to each other and share the everyday challenges they face.”
Father to Father believes that “Decades of research nationally and locally show that when fathers are engaged in positive ways, children, families and communities thrive.” Helping fathers become better and more successful parents is not only beneficial for but also for fathers, families, and communities. When we asked Tom Swanciger- How does Father to Father prepare the fathers to handle problems that arise due to the generation gap between the father and the child? He responded to our question by saying “Father to Father educates dads on the specifics on Parenting like a professional, giving fathers the tools necessary to successfully parent through our parenting component. We also do Father/Child activities with our fathers. This allows us to give them an opportunity to do something fun with their children, again at no cost to them at all.”
Father to Father educates fathers based on the premise that by becoming engaged fathers, they can set goals to achieve greater success, develop and practice healthy habits, and increase their self-esteem as they see their value.
A father’s value is tremendous. Why it’s so important for us to help fathers realize the important contributions they can make
Because fathers parent differently, they bring another perspective to the family and help children develop more fully.
What We do to make fathers a better parent
Father to Father provides an individualized 24-week fatherhood program that helps fathers become their better selves by overcoming the obstacles they may face. The program concentrates on various aspects of fatherhood development such as employability, economic mobility, healthy relationships, parenting/co-parenting, and men’s health. Years of service have indicated that many fathers feel alone in their struggles. Some men lack good role models for parenting, perhaps because they had no contact with their own fathers. We’ve also seen through our peer groups that fathers share many things in common and can be great resources for each other. The One Man Plan and the Peer Group Sessions are some of Father to Father’s unique and most effective techniques. So, we wanted to know how effective their “One Man Plan” and “Peer Group Sessions” have been for the fathers and for the growth of the organization. To which, the CEO, Tom Swanciger said, “The One Man Plan and our Peer Group Sessions have been the ultimate key to success for our participants. The One Man Plan is a set of goals that is personalized to each specific participant and it’s a road map of what success will look like for that individual upon graduation from our program. The peer group sessions allow dads to speak freely in a safe space and talk about not only their frustrations, but also their successes.”
A way Forward
The future for Father to father is bright and beautiful. Father to Father is looking to continue its reach throughout the Low Country of South Carolina and expand its services where needed most. Father to Father is expecting to expand its fundraising efforts and look for sustainable dollars to continue to help fathers be successful and make a positive impact on their children’s lives.