Mass incarceration has disproportionately impacted communities of color across America. According to a study conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one in nine Black children has had a parent who was incarcerated. A Boston-based nonprofit is on a mission to provide resources for men who have been behind bars so that they can build stronger relationships with their children, Atlanta Black Star reported.
Fathers’ Uplift was created to provide resources and support to help fathers overcome barriers that hold them back from being present in the lives of their children. The organization—which was founded by married couple Charles C. Daniels Jr. and his wife Samantha Fils-Daniels—provides programs and therapeutic intervention to help men address trauma, addictions, emotional and financial issues. The organization also offers mentoring and counseling for youngsters whose fathers aren’t present in their lives.
Fathers’ Uplift has done a lot of work with individuals who are behind bars. The organization brings social workers into prisons to work with fathers who are serving sentences. Their “Bags for Dads” initiative provides incarcerated individuals with care packages upon their release. “Men who are released from incarceration need a way to get a leg up. However, many men who leave incarceration have limited resources and struggle to re-enter society,” read the organization’s website. “Incarceration is traumatizing, restricts access to employment and restricts access to housing opportunities. Bags for Dads provides peace of mind to men who have multi-dimensional stressors that take time and patience to overcome. Bags for Dads not only provides hygiene products and clothing, but the program also includes transportation back to their residence. Our trained Social Workers and Life Coaches create a comprehensive mental health plan and mentoring. Support and accountability make a difference. Through all of Bags for Dads provided services, men are less likely to re-enter prison.”
For the organization’s co-founder Charles—who grew up with an absent father—launching Fathers’ Uplift was all about creating safe spaces for fathers. “We live in a world where men are expected to be strong all the time, so at Fathers’ Uplift the goal is to make sure that these dads have a place where they can be vulnerable,” he said. “I was inspired by my journey to create a movement that made sure that no kid had to wake up in the middle of the night and question whether his father loved him or not.” Earlier this year Daniels was selected as one of the 2019 Obama Foundation Fellows where he will participate in a two-year program designed to expand the reach of his organization’s work.