A Lifeline for Fathers in the Pee Dee
story by Gailon Wisdom
Dads make a difference, and yet, too many dads today are not involved in their children’s lives. Not because they do not want to be involved, but things have simply gone wrong. Relationships with their children’s mother may have become strained, jobs may have failed, incarceration or life may have gotten complicated. Luckily, Man 2 Man, a nonprofit organization with a mission to help fathers overcome the barriers to be a responsible, involved father, is here to help.
Man 2 Man is a holistic program touching and strengthening all aspects of fatherhood. The program has more than ten years of experience in the Pee Dee region. Various services provided include education in areas of health, legal, and drugs and alcohol. Services also include help with economic stability and employment, parenting and co-parenting, peer support and personal development, Child Support and Visitation. Due to the services offered, many fathers are now reconnecting with their children, which is the ultimate goal. In addition to supporting fathers and families, they are also a resource to businesses seeking employees that are ready-to-work and community organizations who want to learn more about father absence and engaging fathers.
Man 2 Man is one of a network of six fatherhood programs reaching across the state to help reconnect fathers and their children. The SC Center for Fathers and Families helps to coordinate this statewide initiative. However, the idea for the program came about in 1999 when a group of concerned citizens in Marlboro County convened to address one of the most pressing issues at the time: father absence. After they assessed the needs of low-income fathers and developed a holistic plan to address them, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina approved the group’s request for funding, and Man 2 Man gained its start in 2000 under the umbrella of the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. From 2002-2003 the program operated under the umbrella of Chesterfield Marlboro EEOC. By 2004, the project was flourishing and growing and eventually established a standalone 501c3.
Today Man 2 Man not only serves Marlboro County but now serves the counties of Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Chesterfield and rural areas of Marion. Collectively, the Man 2 Man program has impacted the lives of over 2,300 fathers in these counties since 2002. In 2018, 424 fathers were served, positively affecting the lives of over 900 children. Over 40% of the fathers enrolled in the program paid child support which amounted to $72,256.00. Man 2 Man also saved the Pee Dee region over $1.28 Million dollars in our Jobs and Not Jail program. Executive Director Derrick Dease believes that the program has become an oasis for men in the Pee Dee to develop their parenting skills, empowering them to become strong fathers to creating strong families.
The program hosted several events geared to improve the mindset of fathers. These events are weekly peer group meetings on parenting, healthy relationship, economic stability, and men’s health. Other events are Dads to Grads, Job Fairs, Employability Job Boot Camp, Father’s Cookout, Free Men Health Fair, New Dads Boot Camp, and Expungement Conference. The program also assisted over 25 fathers to complete the Manufacturing Industrial Skills training at Florence Darlington Technical College in 2018.
Man 2 Man program has impacted the lives of over 2,300 fathers in these counties since 2002. In 2018, 424 fathers were served, positively affecting the lives of over 900 children.
Peer Group Session Schedule:
MONDAYS: Man 2 Man Florence Office @ 10am & 6pm
TUESDAYS: Dillon County Library @ 2pm
Harbor Freight Tools-Dillon Distribution Center @ 4:30pm
WEDNESDAYS: Northeastern Technical College – Cheraw @ 2pm
Florence-Darlington Technical College – Hartsville Office @ 4pm
THURSDAYS: Man 2 Man Bennettsville Office @ 11am & 4pm
Florence Office (Headquarters)
1321 West Evans Street
Florence SC, 29501
110 South Parsonage Street
Bennettsville SC 29512