‘I didn’t want that for my children’: Program helps Nebraska dads get back on track

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Fatherhood Initiative has only been in Nebraska for two years, but it’s already changed hundreds of lives.

Gov. Jim Pillen recognized its work on Monday and signed a proclamation honoring the role that fathers play in the state.

“The coolest gift a dad can give is what I call the gift of belief,” Pillen said.

The initiative is a free program that supports fathers who don’t have custody of their children.

That includes fathers who are incarcerated.

“We know that statistics show that if a parent went to prison, a child will go, too,” said Eric Moore, who was in prison for six years. “And I didn’t want that for my children.”

When he heard about the program, he decided to learn what he could and step up for his five children.

“We always want our children to do better than what we did, and that’s the main focus,” Moore said.

He finished the program and went back home to his kids.

And then he realized he wanted to get involved in the initiative.

“They hired me because they see the work I put in, they see how I want to help other men and women who were in my situation become a better person in life,” Moore said.

Now he is the director of reentry for RISE, a program that partners with the Fatherhood Initiative.

In just two years, the initiative has already served over 250 fathers, impacting more than 500 children in the state.

It helps fathers find jobs, achieve financial literacy and become a nurturing father.

It’s partnered with seven correctional facilities, and 20 inmates have graduated in the past two years.

But it supports fathers from all different backgrounds as they try to reconnect with their kids.

Pillen said this program is important for many Nebraska families.

“Motherhood is the most important job in the world, but Dad’s is a really, really close second,” Pillen said. “And it’s important that we keep talking about it, that everybody stands up, no matter what the set of circumstances are, because fatherhood and families are really, really important.”

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