Every Day is Saturday – Trying to find a new normal in abnormal times

Like most businesses, non-profits and families, the Spokane Fatherhood Initiative is struggling to adapt to this new normal. For those not working from home, “shelter in place” is eerily like a continuous string of Saturdays, isn’t it? I’m not going to work, the kids are not in school and we’re not going to church. Feels a lot like Saturday to me. Day after day.

The photo above captures this social isolation. Instead of a school playground flooded with children, a solitary youngster throws a ball against a wall. The hoops are still on basketball backboards here, but a friend in Florida reports that the hoops have been removed there. These are challenging times for kids and dads.

When the virus struck, we were halfway through the 12, two-hour classes that comprise the 24-7 Dad “AM” (beginning) curriculum. When social distancing guidelines came out,  we surveyed our students and found they enthusiastically wanted to keep meeting online. Class resumed online 10 days after “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” was put in place.

Tonight we will complete Session 12 and will honor 11 of our students with a virtual graduation ceremony. Most of the students are pictured here in our Zoom “classroom.”

Online teaching, of course, is never the same as a face-to-face classroom, and the men especially miss the great meals we served them twice a week. Despite the challenges of this new “classroom,” our students maintained their high levels of transparency and candor. Most nights we had perfect attendance! Hats off to Certified Facilitator Fred Dent for his willingness to master online training technology.

Most of these graduates have signed up for the next 12-session course, branded “PM” (advanced). After completing both AM and PM, our students are truly 24-7 dads!

We are very proud of these men, most of whom struggle with very difficult parenting circumstances while they battle to overcome personal struggles. The virus lock-down has limited contact and activity with their children and in some cases hindered their own recovery. Nevertheless, these men want to change and are hungry for the tools and concepts we teach. Will you please pray for them?

It looks like every day will feel like Saturday for several more weeks. Despite this, SpoFI is committed to keeping our activities as “normal” as possible. We cannot do this, of course, without those of you who support us with your financial gifts and your prayers. To our monthly donors, thank you for your steadfast support! Your giving helps us maintain a healthy financial position despite the economic chaos that surrounds us.

We pray for a return to the old normal as soon as possible, but in the meantime we will continue to adapt so we can continue our mission to build stronger dads, stronger families and stronger kids.

Gratefully yours,
Ron Hauenstein
President and CEO
Spokane Fatherhood Initiative
April 14, 2020