By Annette Pinder

Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network, a non-profit organization that empowers men and women to raise healthy families and children, deserves special attention this month for its Buffalo Fatherhood Initiative, which equips fathers and father figures with tools and to become better fathers. Programs of the Fatherhood Initiative include:

Mentoring Fathers Project. Providing one-on-one guidance for young fathers between the ages of 18 and 24, men learn how to be better dads, men, and valuable community members from an experienced mentor who understands how to help. Contact Rodney Joubert at for information.

Financial Peace University. Finding peace as an essential part of creating a stable home environment. In just nine lessons, men learn how to properly budget, pay off debt, and become more financially secure. The program includes a free workbook and one year of online resources. Contact Michael McKnight at for information.

Nurturing Fathers. This free, 13-week nationally recognized training course teaches dads the ins and outs of being a reliable parent and nurturing caregiver. It focuses on the roots of fathering; ways to nurture yourself and your children; how to father sons and daughters; discipline without violence; playing with children; managing anger and resolving conflict; teamwork with spouses and partners; balancing work and parenting; communication and problem-solving; cultural influences; dealing with feelings; and more. Contact Terry Seay at for information.

Antoine Johnson, who manages the Fatherhood Initiative, says, “Becoming a dad changed the way I think about my family’s financial future. My wife and I procrastinated about having a will, but none of us are promised tomorrow. We want to make sure that our daughter is cared for should anything happen to us.”

“We have experienced significant results with the Fatherhood Initiative,” says Antoine.  “Fathers say they are better able to communicate with their partners and their children, that there is less conflict and arguing at home, and that they are better able to work their problems out by shedding unhealthy habits they learned early on, and replacing them with new healthier habits.”

Program graduate Rodney Joubert says, “Nurturing Fathers taught me skills around being a more caring, effective father, and that’s where I was lacking. I didn’t have the communication skills to be effective when angry. I didn’t know how to talk to my son when he was angry or frustrated. I just didn’t have those skills. I was never exposed to it. My father died when I was three, so it was very important for me to seek this education.”

Antoine says, “Fathers have a unique approach to parenting that is so necessary. We help men realize those strengths and abilities so that they can feel proud of themselves. They see that their partners can’t handle it all and that it is important to be involved in the direct care of their children. Learn more at or call 716-884-6711, ext. 279.

Watch a television program about The Fatherhood Initiative this month on Wednesday, June 16 at 8 pm or on Saturday June 19 at noon on WBBZ-TV, Channel 5 (Fios, Spectrum, DISH) and Channel 67 (Direc-TV).