“New Pathways for Good Dads” program paves way for successful parenthood

JOPLIN, Mo. – Eric Luttrell says he’s staying in a recovery home, signing up for the Good Dads program so he can be the father he wants to be for his kids.

“So it started with my son, Zeke, and I’m fighting state for him, and trying to get back in touch with my other kids as well. Here is just the first step,” said Luttrell, a Webb City resident.

It’s the first step for a lot dads in the room, all of them navigating the puzzle of parenting, and many of them fighting legal issues as non-custodial guardians, but they’ve got guidance from some dads with experience.good dads website

“There are a lot of dads that would step up if they knew how and this program invites them to learn more so they can be more confident in their ability to be a dad which increases the likelihood of them being involved,” explained Michael Wiest, one facilitator for Good Dads.

“We had one individual who got his son back…he was about to be adopted and he worked so hard and did so good that he is now working on full-time custody with his child,” said Jeremy Kitchingham, another facilitator with the program.Dads

The Good Dads program began last spring. It started in Springfield, but a grant has helped it expand to other areas like Joplin. COVID-19 threw things for a loop, but organizers are getting things back on course, offering a class that will teach dads everything from anger management to budgeting.

“We offer the fatherhood development class, we offer a relationship class. We offer some parenting classes and there’s lots of opportunities for them to have outings with their kids later on in the program…we provide those opportunities and ways for them to bond with their children as well,” explained Marlissa Diggs with the Alliance of SWMO.

The Good Dads program is all about transforming lives and relationships, something Eric is eager to sign up for.

“It’s been a good experience for myself, you know. I’ve been a year clean now and to see what life has to offer has been really, really good.”

The class is free. It starts on November 30. If you’d like to sign up or learn more, you can reach out to the Alliance of SWMO in Joplin or check out this link.