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Ohio Gets New Grant to Support Young Fathers

The holidays are all about families coming together. There is a program now underway to help fathers build better relationships with their children.

Urban Light Ministries in Springfield has been running its Fatherhood program for almost a decade. Now the organization is getting help to expand its services. Over the next five years Ohio will get $10-million to assist new and expecting low-income fathers. Urban Light Ministries will get $315,000 annually from that funding.

Craig Sample is a father of two, recovering from a drug addiction. He came to Urban Light Ministries after his daughter was born back in 2006. Since that time he's learned to be more nurturing for his son Jr. and his daughter. "I know my daughter loves me. I know my son loves me with just the little things he does. He'll come up hugging me grabbing my face I know it's a big difference," said Sample. He's had issues with his own father which carried into the relationships with his children. However, through classes and different exercises he was able to break the cycle. "I just did what the program and other programs taught me to do, which is to be available and show up."

Through the program fathers get job training, parenting classes, and healthy relationship education. The director says children with an absent father tend to act out and are often less successful in life, sometimes creating a burden in the community. "The reality is they begin to tax the social services in our community, so then you have other entities paying significant dollars to do something for a child or a family that a dad should, said Darryl Grayson, the COO and the Fatherhood Dir. of Urban Light Ministries.

Urban Light Ministries also received a two-year grant of $100,000 from the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood. It's earmarked to serve families in Clark, Greene, Madison and Montgomery

The grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services will fund the New Beginnings for New Fathers Program in five Ohio counties, Including Clark and Montgomery.

The program is hoping to break the cycle of father absence. It is also expected to reduce infant mortality by teaching fathers about the importance of not smoking, safe sleep environments and other health concerns.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the program can contact Urban Light Ministries at (937)-328-0122 or visit: http://urbanlight.org/

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