Kevin is one of more than 40 fathers who are looking forward to a brighter future because of you.

Kevin is a graduate of Volunteers of America’s Fathers Focused on Family and Faith program, which provides counseling and parental skills education to incarcerated fathers who will be released within six months.

“Rev. Thibodeaux and Ms. Abbie taught me fathering skills that I really think will help me become a better father upon my release,” Kevin says. “I really enjoyed the help from this class and appreciate the help from them.”

That help is more than just 12 weeks of classes following the Inside/Out Dad® curriculum, which is designed specifically for incarcerated fathers and used in more than 400 facilities in all 50 states. The program helps reduce recidivism rates by reconnecting incarcerated fathers to their families, providing the motivation to get out and stay out.

The fathers, all ages 17 to 24, also participate in a mentoring group where they receive both one-on-one and group mentoring services—arming them with the tools to be successful upon their release. Fathers also receive comprehensive transitional services to expedite their community reintegration as well as intensive case management to reduce recidivism while reintegrating into the community.

Rev. Kenneth Thibodeaux serves as the mentoring coach and teaches the Inside/Out Dad® curriculum while case manager Abbie Freeman provides case management and mentoring.

“It’s been very rewarding to see their growth,” Freeman says. “They get both a male and female perspective on the program, and you can see them grow. It’s usually quiet at first, but by the fifth class, they really, really open up. All of these fathers want to grow and become better individuals for themselves and their children. They all want to be the best fathers that they can be.”

Currently, the program serves the Plaquemines Parish Detention Center, but Abbie says they hope to grow it to other parishes in the future. The program is supported by a grant awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

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