By Kevin Kufeldt, Chapter Co-Chair at Mission Trail Middle School for Father’s Club
(Kevin Kufeldt is the Director of Addiction and Residential Services with Johnson County Mental Health and is an authority in the area of drug addiction and its impact on our community. He’s also the co-chair of the Mission Trail Middle School Father’s Club.)

From Alcohol to FentanylIn 2020, the nation was facing an opioid pandemic, but if you looked around Johnson County it was difficult to see. The Midwest was not experiencing the same devastating numbers of overdoses/deaths we saw on the national news. Life-saving medications were not being discussed in the schools, libraries, treatment centers or other public arenas. County leaders, probation officers, judges and the district attorney office were calling my office and asking, “What is all of this talk on opioids and are you seeing it in your treatment facilities?”

The answer to their question, back then, was a confident, “No! We’re not seeing the effects of opioids in our community or even the state.”

A review of admission data at the Adolescent Center for Treatment revealed that only 7.5 percent of the youth entering residential treatment were diagnosed with an opioid used disorder as their primary or “drug of choice.” The number of youth reporting any use of opioids was roughly 23 percent.

Alarming Increases

From Alcohol to FentanylWe compare those numbers to 2023 statistics and see that the percentage of youth seeking services at the Adolescent Center for Treatment with a primary diagnosis of opioid use disorder rising to 30 percent, with roughly 59 percent of youth reporting that they have been using opioids on a regular basis. Alarming increases over just a three-year period. The more we learn about these numbers increasing, though, the more we are learning about ways to combat the sometimes-deadly ramifications.

Youth entering into Johnson County Mental Health’s outpatient addiction services program and the Adolescent Center for Treatment continue to voice concerns for the potency of counterfeit opioids, but they continue to purchase and abuse this potentially life-threatening drug.

Providers in the area are referring more and more clients to medically assisted treatment providers (MAT) in an effort to provide therapeutic dosages of opioid blocking medications to better assist users in treatment/recovery. These medications not only block the opioid receptor sites in the individual’s brain, but they also provide relief from withdrawal symptoms and assist with deterring cravings toward a return to use.

Education

From Alcohol to FentanylIn addition to providing medication options for those using/abusing opioids, Clients are being educated on harm reduction strategies to help curb the overdose potential of unsuspecting users of Fentanyl. Harm reduction strategies are not a cure for opioid used disorder and despite some of its negative attention in the community does not encourage continued use.

Treatment providers in outpatient services are providing clients with individual dosages Narcan medications. Narcan or Naloxone is a medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. As an opioid antagonist, this medication attaches to the opioid receptors and reverses the effects of the opioids in the individual’s system and quickly restores the user back to normal breathing. The use of Narcan can be performed by anyone, is not dangerous to administer or inhale and has proven to be successful in save the lives of many clients. It is important to always call 911 for any person requiring life saving measures.

Opioids and Fentanyl are a deadly combination. It only takes two milligrams (the equivalent of a few grains of salt) to cause an overdose in a grown adult. Counterfeit pills flowing throughout our community of Johnson County places each and every one of us in danger should one of these pills be ingested. It’s extremely important that you talk to your family and friends about never taking any medication that were not prescribed by your doctor and filled in your local pharmacy.

This is yet another reason why the role of the Father’s Club is so important at both the middle school and the high school level. Being present in the lives of these kids is the first step in getting out in front of this big problem.

For additional information on opioids or substance use disorder, feel free to reach out to Kevin Kufeldt, Director of Addiction and Residential Services with Johnson County Mental Health or call him at 913-715-7639.

To get involved with a Father’s Club chapter at your school, visit the Chapters page on our website.

By Jim Bradford, Chapter Co-Chair at Mission Trail Middle School for Father’s Club

From the moment our children are born, we’re waiting for the firsts. Their first word. Their first step. Their first tooth.

A parents’ world revolves around the firsts. They’re never ending and never get old.

No one wants to miss those firsts, either. Witnessing every single one of those firsts is a right of passage for every parent. You never want to be the one to say, “Oh, I can’t believe I missed it!”

Parents are wired to remember, and celebrate, the firsts.

But in time, those first become lasts. That’s a whole other set of emotions, right?

Getting dads involved at the middle school helps jump start Father’s Club at high schoolAlong that road from first to last is the middle and that’s where Father’s Club flourishes. That’s part of the reason we’ve begun opening Father’s Club chapters at the middle school level in Olathe, to be sure we help fill that gap. More are coming, too. Additional chapters at middle schools in Olathe,  Blue Valley and North Kansas City are set to begin in the fall.

And as we look to help fill those gaps – the middles – it’s the work we do at the middle school level that can be the most important. That’s where we build the base for being a positive influence, being present in the lives of these students.

While our impact at the high school level is important, getting the buy-in from impactful dads at middle school is paramount.

At the elementary level in Olathe, we’re able to connect with our students and so many others through the Watch D.O.G.S. program, even if for just one day a year, maybe two. But after that, there wasn’t anything in place for dads to do to stay involved.

Enter Father’s Club at the middle school.

Getting dads involved at the middle school helps jump start Father’s Club at high schoolKeeping dads engaged immediately after their kids leave elementary school makes for a much easier transition to Father’s Club at the high school level. Making an impact immediately at middle school keeps the train moving into high school, helping to eliminate the need for so much recruitment of dads when high school starts. The dads are already involved, engaged and ready to step in and continue making that impact, being present for all the kids.

The mission of Father’s Club is no different at middle school than it is at high school. We strive to be intentional in everything we do for the students, fellow dads and everyone within our community, but that intentionality just might mean a little bit more to 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds.

You never know when that subtle interaction can become that perfect elixir to brighten someone’s day or spark something. We may not be moving mountains, but what we can do is be there to support their journey. No one’s journey is the same. And sometimes the middle of that journey can be the toughest part. It’s easy to start and once you’ve got it figured out, the ending comes flying at you at 80 miles and hour.

It’s in the middle where most of the hard work is done and that’s when Father’s Club can lend support to these kids. They need it. And they may not even know it.

Let’s not let the things in the middle get overlooked and slip away.

Our role is two-fold, really. We want to be there for them as they get knee-deep in the middle and, second, we want to set the foundation for our high school Father’s Club. It’s there where we help them get to the lasts before they walk across that stage and embark on some new firsts.

If you want to get involved, or know someone who might be able to make a difference at either the middle school or high school level, you can find some more great info about Father’s Club here!

By Mike Davisson, Executive Director/Olathe Regional Director/Board Member for Father’s Club

Website Updates and Getting InvolvedWe have recently made some changes on the FathersClub.org website and I thought it would be a good idea to walk through some of them. I also thought it would be a good reminder of how to use our website to get involved with your local Father’s Club chapter! So let’s dive in.

HOME

  • CLICK PLAYCheck out our new 8:15 video that gives you the history of Father’s Club. I encourage you to direct people to fathersclub.org to check out the video and learn more.
  • NEED A NUDGE? – Highlighting a blog that speaks to a DADs initial reluctance to join and his journey since.

ABOUT

Who started Father’s Club? Who is in charge? Who is on the Board of Directors?

  • Meet the TEAM – This is the group of individuals with defined roles that are currently leading the key aspects of our organization. Many of the original founders are still active here, but there are additional contributors that are key to the success of our organization.
  • Founders Club – These are the original 9 guys that started Father’s Club at Blue Valley High School and had the vision to take it beyond a single school.
  • Legacy Board Members – These are a group of key individuals in addition to the Founding members that sacrificially and voluntarily lead the organization to the place we are today.

BLOGS

  • Did you know that we produce a weekly blog that gives insights into what is happening throughout Father’s Clubs across the metro?

MISSION CUP GOLF

  • When is the annual golf tournament?
  • How do I register to play?
  • What companies support the golf tournament?
  • Click here to learn all about the Mission Cup Golf Tournament!

We continue to make updates and improvements and welcome feedback on future enhancements or improvements. Sneak Peek: We are even working on launching an interactive Father’s Club app that will likely be available as we begin the start of the 2024-2025 school year!

If you have any additional questions about Father’s Club, please use our Contact Form to submit a question and we will get back to you ASAP.

By Dan Holdhusen, Grandfather of three graduates and one currently enrolled in Blue Valley High School

Simon Sinek has a unique observation about being a leader: “Leadership is not a rank or position to be attained. Leadership is a service to be given.” In a nutshell, this simple, yet profound quote describes Kevin Easterday, Board member and Treasurer for Father’s Club.

Kevin is a living example of the what the Father’s Club mission declares as he lives out being an example of a humble, servant leader by carefully selecting his priorities “with resolve, humility, and love, [and] to be a catalyst for positive influence around the world.”

Kevin Easterday Kevin Easterday

Looking for Purpose-Filled Volunteer Opportunities

Kevin EasterdayIt may seem remarkable that a banking and finance professional like Kevin would seek to live his life by mitigating risk-taking. He discarded that notion by stepping into a leadership role with the Blue Valley Southwest chapter some years ago, even though both his kids had already graduated from BVSW and moved on to college careers and, later, to their own families and professional careers. In Kevin’s words: “I was looking for purpose-filled volunteer opportunities since my bandwidth had broadened now that my kids were no longer living at home.” He was also seeking fellowship with other dads.

He wanted to let his hair down (take a look at his picture and you will get a chuckle at that statement) and “be real and transparent” with guys who were self-proclaimed “broken men” just wanting to make a difference and show up for Father’s Club events. He also sought opportunities to live a life of authenticity, while, at the same time, have influence in the lives of kids and the community. From there, he stepped up to serve on the Father’s Club Board of Directors, and eventually into the role as Treasurer, where he has served for the past four years. But now, as life would have it, he and his wife, Laura, are taking a bold new step in their lives.

A Bold New Step

They are pulling up the Easterday roots and moving to Denver, CO, after Kevin received and accepted an offer (only the second job in his life!) that was too good to be true, and one he had not sought. Given the ability and wherewithal to stay connected remotely, he will continue with his Father’s Club leadership roles – at least for the time being – and plans to be purposeful by slowly and deliberately expanding the Father’s Club footprint to the Denver area. That is the sort of servant leader he is.

On multiple levels, moving to a different part of the country was a difficult decision for Kevin and Laura. They are leaving their two children in Kansas – their son, Drew and daughter, Ashley, and their families – and moving to set down new roots and adventures with a new employer, in a new community and in a new job. They have definitely lived life by the motto that “life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”

Kevin Easterday Kevin Easterday

Kevin and Laura have already experienced many “final” things as they very recently moved to Colorado after living the entirety of their lives – up to this point – in the Kansas City metro area. Selling their home, leaving their neighbors, leaving the only job and workmates he had ever known. They have already lived a full life since being high school sweethearts and graduates at St. Thomas Aquinas, through their college years thereafter, and getting married and starting their family in the mid-nineties. The most important “final” is moving a distance and saying good-bye (temporarily, of course) to their kids and their families.

When asked what he has appreciated and liked the most about Father’s Club, Kevin’s response was immediate and from the heart:

  • Fellowship with other dads;
  • Camaraderie with like-minded men;
  • An opportunity to “fill the void” at a crucial time in his life;
  • Meeting new and life-long friends;
  • Living life with deep and authentic friendships; and of course;
  • Serving and loving the amazing kids and staff who are part of the campuses that make up the Father’s Club.

Kevin EasterdayThere is that word again – SERVING. To repeat Simon Sinek’s quote: “Leadership is a service to be given.”

Good Luck Kevin!

For the time being, we say goodbye to Kevin and Laura. But really, it is only another beginning for a great servant leader.

Writer’s note: As mentioned above, Kevin will continue in his role on the Board and as Treasurer remotely, so you will still hear from him from time to time. If anyone wants to drop a note of thanks and congratulations to Kevin and Laura, they can be sent to kevin.easterday@fathersclub.org.

How many days do you get with your children?

By Mike Davisson, Executive Director/Olathe Regional Director/Board Member for Father’s Club

How many days do you get with your children?

If you assume you get to be a part of your KID’S lives every day for the first 18 years of your life, then you would be looking at about 6,574 days. Or 936 weeks. Or a total of 940 Saturdays. That seems like a lot of days. However, when you break it down, it’s scary how many of these days we take for granted.

If you assume you’re part of every birthday, holiday, first day of school, school concert, etc. for all 18 years of their life, this will equate to less than 365 of those 6,574 available days. That represents about 5% of your child’s life.

What are you doing with the other days?

The question then becomes, what are you doing with all the other days? Many of us will go to our child’s ballgames, dance recitals, cheer competitions, musicals, lake weekends, vacations and more. Yet, even if that represented one day per week, every week of the year, from age 5 to 18, you would still only add an additional 10% of time with your KIDS.

I know these are somewhat arbitrary numbers, but they’re meant to highlight that we have a limited amount of time with our KIDS, yet many of us could do a better job of being intentional with the quality and quantity of time we have with them.

I often ask DADS, if you were diagnosed with 2 months to live, what would you immediately begin doing differently? My follow up question is, why wait?

Middle Schools

It is with these thoughts and questions in mind that Father’s Club has pivoted from being solely in high school chapters to launching into middle schools as well. We have done so with 4 middle schools in Olathe and have seen great success. We’ve been welcomed with open arms from administration and students alike. Beginning in the next school year, we’ve taken steps to add additional Olathe middle schools while taking initial steps to also launch a few more chapters in Blue Valley and North Kansas City middle schools.

We are also increasing the number of high schools in the Kansas City Metro area as well. Also, we are in discussions to move beyond the KC Metro this coming year or next.

Statistics tell us that involved DADS make a difference. KIDS tell us that they want their DADS to show up. Wives, administrators, and teachers tell us that they wish more DADS would step up.

It is time for us as DADS to look at our priorities as if we only had 2 months to live and start living accordingly. Please join us in the lives of our KIDS in middle schools and high schools by simply being present every day possible. We have a limited number of days and we don’t want to have any regrets with how we used them.

Ready to step up?

First, join so that you can start hearing more about what is going on. Next, get involved with an existing Father’s Club chapter. If you don’t see your high school or middle school listed, please contact me to discuss the opportunity to start one at your school.

This isn’t about looking to the past with a guilty conscience – it’s about looking forward to the opportunities in front of us right now.

Right here. Right now. YOU matter.

By Steven Richmond

Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle SchoolMiddle school can be rough. In addition to just growing up, there are a lot of other things going on including family expectations, social challenges, stepped-up academics, and extra curricular activities. It takes a lot to keep things balanced. All too often we are so busy we either don’t slow down long enough to recognize kindness, or we intend to say thank you but simply forget. We all do it and our kids do it too.

Overthinking Kindness

Ross Pomeroy, editor for RealClearScience, believes that random acts of kindness are rare for one simple and surprising reason. We overthink being kind.

Unsolicited acts of kindness generally boost the well being of both givers and receivers, so why do we not see acts of kindness performed more often? Research suggests that people are afraid their act of kindness will be misinterpreted. People also undervalue how good an act of kindness will make the receiver feel. If you want to perform an act of kindness for someone, don’t overthink it. Just do it! In most cases, people underestimate the positive effects of a kind act.

Kindness starts with being kind to yourself.

Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle SchoolKindness is more than behavior. The art of kindness involves harboring a spirit of helpfulness, being generous and considerate, and doing so without expecting anything in return. Rather than viewing it exclusively as an action, think of kindness as a quality of being you can cultivate. Giving kindness often is simple, free and even has health benefits! Kindness is good for the body and good for the mind.

Why do some people feel uncomfortable when someone is nice to them?

Many people feel uncomfortable when someone is nice to them because of low self-esteem. People who struggle with self-esteem issues often have difficulty believing they are worthy of love, affection, and admiration from others, much less kindness. Before you can accept kindness from others, don’t forget to be kind to yourself.

What started the Caught in Kindness challenge?

A Harvard study found that being kind or actively observing kindness around us boosted happiness. We feel happier when we act in service to others.

Listening to my son and his friends talk about how other students talk to each other in the halls and cafeteria was surprising. What was once considered disrespectful has turned into: What? Can’t you take a joke? Racially injected speech is not unusual, and being kind to others is often made fun of.

February 17th was National Random Acts of Kindness day, so what better time to be intentional and spotlight kindness?

Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle School Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle School

Father’s Club, in conjunction with California Trail Middle School, agreed to challenge the students to pay attention and recognize 2,000 random acts of kindness during the week of February 20th. Why? Because “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” We become kinder with practice.

We partnered with a local printer who provided 3,000 Caught in Kindness Cards and a variety of posters emphasizing different characteristics of kindness and affirmations like;

Respect – treating people, places, and things with kindness
Inclusiveness – including others, inviting people in, and welcoming others with open arms.
Responsibility – being reliable to do the things that are expected or required of you
Caring – feeling and showing concern for others
Integrity – acting in a way you know to be right and read in all situations
Courage – being brave when facing new or difficult circumstances

How did the Challenge Go?

Caught in Kindness Challenge at California Trail Middle SchoolWe placed posters throughout the hallways and common areas. Each day of the challenge, a number of dads showed up over lunch to hand out Caught in Kindness cards, talk to the students about kindness, encourage them to slow down, peel away from their devices, and recognize the kindness around them.

The following Wednesday, another group of dads had a blast handing out Rice Krispy Treats, Fruit by the Foot, Pop Smart, and other treats to applaud the students in recognizing over 1,300 acts of kindness. Who would have thought that Peeps and Pop Tarts were so popular!

Choose Kindness

While we do not have control over others, we have control over ourselves. Take a moment to pause, be your best self and Make Kindness Common.

Words matter be kind
You are brave
You are worth it
You are loved
You are one of a kind
You are awesome
You are smart
You are valued
You are strong
Be patient
Give grace
Find the good
Be the good

Resources

Practice the art of kindness-the mayo clinic.
https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/the-art-of-kindness

The heart and science of kindness
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-heart-and-science-of-kindness-2019041816447

Discover Gratitude
https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/wellness/gratitude

Kickstart Kindness
https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/wellness/kindness

Random Acts of Kindness
https://www.randomactsofkindness.org

By Mike Davisson, Executive Director/Olathe Regional Director/Board Member for Father’s Club

In 2018, a local non-profit called Screen Sanity was launched. They believed there was a direct correlation between unchecked, unhealthy technology use and the mental health side effects that were affecting many families. Additionally, they recognize that we are the first generation of parents with digital native children, yet are also parents with no parental experience to lean into from prior generations.

With that in mind, they set out to educate and provide practical guidance to parents on how to maximize the benefits of technology while minimizing the harmful side effects.

2018 was also the year in which the Father’s Club was founded.

Father’s Club founders were confronted with the reality that DADS being intentionally involved with their KIDS was more critical than ever. The landscape with involved DADS versus without involved DADS had stark differences. We were beginning to lose a generation of KIDS being influenced by technology and outside influences instead of parents.

Five years later, Mental Health & Wellness and Suicide Prevention are two of the areas in which we focus additional efforts. Education and Resources around technology and how it is impacting our children is necessary if we are going to be the key drivers in raising our children to the best of our abilities.

The Father's Club and Screen Sanity Partnership

The Screen Sanity Partnership

It is with these separate, yet common goals, that Screen Sanity partnered with Father’s Club and allows us to facilitate their training to help parents become better educated about technology. Screen Sanity provides Tips, Tricks and Practical Next Steps to help navigate the digital world.

The Father's Club and Screen Sanity PartnershipThese presentations help educate parents, provide resources, share basic practices, and create an environment of open dialogue among parents who attend. California Trail Middle School Principal, Mike Wiley, commented that he thought the presentation was a great connection for all the parents about how to navigate the digital world with their kids. Additionally, many parents thanked us for taking the time to present this information and felt they were more informed on how to navigate digital conversations while others were walking away with some best practices on how to intentionally do so.

This new partnership allowed Father’s Club to facilitate Screen Sanity trainings at Chisholm Traill Middle School and California Trail Middle School. We also have plans to host additional training by the end of the school year. You can check out our upcoming events to find an opportunity to attend. (You are welcome to attend any upcoming events that are and will be scheduled.)

Want to Learn More? Next steps?

To learn more about Screen Sanity, please go to www.screensanity.org.

If you are interested in having a Screen Sanity presentation brought to your school or are interested in learning more about Father’s Club, please visit www.fathersclub.org. You can JOIN Father’s Club by clicking STEP ONE and filling out the form. You can also click the CONTACT button and fill out the form to either request us to schedule Screen Sanity training at your school or discuss next steps in launching a chapter at your school if one is not already established.

Improving Mental Health for Olathe South Dads

By Brody Dorland – Chapter Chair of Olathe South Father’s Club

Let me start by saying that this post may be a bit “heavier” than others you may have read on the Father’s Club blog, but the epidemic of poor mental health in our communities can’t be taken lightly. A quick review of recent statistics tells a shocking tale. Houston, we have a problem.

But let me back up… The Father’s Club organization was originally conceived at Blue Valley High School as a result of yet another student suicide, one of 15 that had taken place within Johnson County schools in the 2017/18 school year.

A group of concerned fathers came together to take action. Since then, the organization has grown to over 25 school chapters, and improving the mental well-being of our kids, FC members, and local communities remains a core objective.

Improving Mental Health for Olathe South Dads

Olathe South Father’s Club Mental Health Training – Feb. 7th, 2024

With suicide being the second leading cause of death for teens in Kansas, I’m proud to be a part of an organization that is putting so much attention on our kids’ well-being. But, our kids aren’t the only ones who are struggling.

A healthy portion of Father’s Club’s new Mental Health & Well-Being Training series focuses on the other high-risk segment of our communities, middle-aged men. Men, in general, take their lives in far greater numbers than women.

Source: CDC Suicide Data & Statistics

Source: CDC Suicide Data & Statistics

And when broken down by other attributes like age and ethnicity, the picture is even more grim for men aged 45 to 54, the highest risk age group.

The Stigma

Unless you’re living under a rock, it’s obvious that awareness of the topic of mental health, and the effort to destigmatize talking about it, has increased dramatically over the last decade. But that doesn’t mean the male population at large is going to change their hardwiring overnight.

We’ve largely been conditioned to be the strong, stoic providers that don’t want to burden our families with our day-to-day traumas. And that’s “traumas” with a little “t”, not a big “T”. Big traumatic events have their obvious impacts on anyone who has experienced them. But “little t” traumas often go undiscussed and can build into a burden that gets too heavy for many middle-aged men to handle.

This situation was really the key focus of our Olathe South Father’s Club Mental Health Training event held on Feb. 7th, 2024.

Improving Mental Health for Olathe South Dads

Todd Milner, Director of Mental Health and Wellness/Board Member

A Few Simple Tools

Since we’re men, we like things simple, and we like tools. Here are three simple tools that were my key takeaways from the training.

  1. Make time to reach out to and engage with the people that are important to you. This obviously includes family, but friends, colleagues, and community members should also be in the mix.
  2. Don’t just ask the typical, “How are you doing?” – Ask it a second time… “How are you REALLY doing?” – This second ask has a jarring way of opening people up to a much deeper conversation about what’s REALLY going on in their world. It also subtly communicates your intentionality, that you really care and are interested in listening.
  3. Don’t hesitate to ask the big question – There will likely come a time when you’re dealing with someone who is obviously struggling. We, as men, need to be prepared to ask, “Have you ever thought about hurting yourself, or someone else?”

Asking this question to someone who is down might be tough. That’s the stigma talking. We need to destigmatize the fear or uneasiness of asking that question, especially when your spidey sense is telling you something is off with someone you care about.

Awareness to Action

I’ll close with this… FC Mental Health trainers Todd Milner and Darrin Wolff did a great job of building our awareness of the severity of the problem and walking us through the fundamentals of QPR. But some of the most impactful parts of our training came from our attendees opening up with stories of things they’ve dealt with in the past, or are currently facing. One such story from trainer Darrin Wolff really hit home.

Improving Mental Health for Olathe South Dads

Darrin Wolff, Mental Health and Wellness Trainer/Board Member

It started with a phone call to a business colleague. Coincidentally, Darrin had just completed his QPR certification days prior. Over the phone, Darrin could tell that his colleague was down and really struggling with something. His recent training gave Darrin the awareness to ask THE question in that moment, despite the natural fear and hesitation. Turns out, his colleague had thought about taking his life just hours before Darrin’s call.

Ditch the stigma. Get over your uneasiness. The lives of those around you are more important than your hesitation, embarrassment, or fear of asking an important question.

To sign up for one of these classes, visit the Father’s Club Events page and find a Mental Health + Wellness class that works with your schedule. To attend you will need to register and a donation of $40 would help defray the cost of the program, but is not required.

 

Mission Trail Middle School Dads Stepping up and Stepping In

By Jim Bradford, Chapter Co-Chair at Mission Trail Middle School for Father’s Club

In the world of education, things happen. Whether it’s a last-minute transfer, a mid-year move or an end-of-the year promotion. But sometimes those things happen at the worst times. And they come out of nowhere.

Such was the case at Mission Trail Middle School last December when their principal resigned.

It was a tough time for students, teachers and administrators alike. Change is always tough especially for middle school students. They’re creatures of habit – as most students are – but those making the transition from elementary school and on the cusp of high school can be particularly vulnerable.

The Mission Trail Middle School Chapter of Father’s Club knew this fact and decided to step up and step in. Just a few days after the news came down that the principal had resigned, we made sure that the students knew the dads had their back and were there for them.

While just a couple of months old, the Fist Bump Fridays had become very popular at Mission Trail, so we decided to help the transitioning administration out by showing up for a special fist bump welcome for each of the final six days left in the first semester.

Mission Trail Middle School Dads Stepping up and Stepping In Mission Trail Middle School Dads Stepping up and Stepping In Mission Trail Middle School Dads Stepping up and Stepping In

We manned the front and back doors, ready to welcome each and every student for the entire week – and then some. We even added a very special Fist Bump Friday where we were handing out candy canes to the students on the final Friday of the semester. Santa’s little helpers were a huge hit.

And so were the other days the dads welcomed students. They didn’t have to be there. The Mission Trail administration was on the ball – as always – and had everything under control, but the Mission Trail Father’s Club just wanted to be there to help.

They stepped up and stepped in when the Timberwolf family needed them most!

Mission Trail Middle School Dads Stepping up and Stepping In

  • To get involved with a Father’s Club chapter at your school, visit the Chapters page on the website.
  • If there isn’t a chapter currently at your school and you would like to know more about starting a Father’s Club chapter, visit the Contact page and fill out the form with your details and we will be in touch.

Mission Trail Middle School Dads Stepping up and Stepping In Mission Trail Middle School Dads Stepping up and Stepping In

Mental Health and Wellbeing Essentials Workshops UpdateBy Todd Milner, Director of Mental Health and Wellness/Board Member for Father’s Club

At the end of 2023, I announced a series of Mental Health and Well Being Essentials courses that would be offered in the first quarter of 2024. Father’s Club kicked off its 2024 Mental Health & Wellbeing Essentials workshops In January! 25 dads gathered to learn skills and be better equipped to talk about mental wellbeing with their families, their buddies, and their communities!

Our goal is to train 1,000 dads in 2024 and we have gotten off to a great start!

This course introduces and expands upon the fundamentals of mental health and well-being. Participants will gain an understanding of what impacts our mental health, common challenges, and the importance of emotional and psychological well-being. Men, in particular, often tend to disguise and quash issues related to their friends’ or their own mental health. Attendees will learn why this is an important topic to Father’s Club through presentation and group discussion. At the conclusion of the course, we will learn how we can all make a difference in our lives, at home and in our community.

An important element of the workshop is QPR (Question, Persuade & Refer)

QPR is a suicide prevention training for the participants to be able to recognize the warning signs of suicide by learning how to question, persuade, and refer people at risk for suicide for help.

Not only will the attendees leave the workshop better equipped to handle hard conversations, but they will take with them a 2-year QPR certification, a Father’s Club Challenge Medallion and a toolbox full of ways to help others struggling or in crisis find help, healing and resilience!

A main objective of the courses is to add Three simple things to each dad’s toolbox that allow them to help them to be intentional about their own mental wellbeing, as well as lead their families in learning how to be more resilient. Father’s Club’s Mental Health & Wellbeing Essentials Workshops teach and discuss very simple, but important rules of how to…

  1. Find Quiet Time – work on YOU! Unplug daily or Take inventory of what’s working and what’s not in YOU!
  2. Do something with your family each week! No phones, no complaining, no big family meeting, no Just find time to talk & LISTEN!
  3. Do something to impact others? Write a handwritten note to your kids, your spouse and those who need an encouraging word! Make a phone call or go grab coffee with someone who just needs someone to listen to them!

Take the Course!

Several courses have been scheduled in the first six months of this year, and several more are expected to be planned in the second half of the year. Signing up is very easy: Simply click on the Events page of the Father’s Club website, click on a Mental Health + Workshop event that is convenient for you, and register. There is a $40 fee that is requested in the application process to help defray expenses, which includes a light meal and some materials.

Don’t hesitate to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity to help you become aware of some simple tools that will make a huge difference in your life and the lives of your loved ones.