FLINT, Michigan, (WJRT) - (11/28/2017) - "They can just really open up and say hey, this is my dilemma, this is what I'm really dealing with and make it a judgement free zone," said Shon Hart.
As Executive Director of involveddads.org, Hart has been instructing men for the past year and a half, based on a curriculum he developed.
Every Tuesday night, for the past ten weeks, a group of about a dozen men have been meeting in the back of this coffee shop for this course called Man 2 Man, learning the skills to become better men, better partners, and better parents.
"She called me back and said could I start tomorrow --8 o'clock and said yes praise God," said Carl Rucker.
After four months of job hunting, the father-of-two couldn't wait to share the good news with the men in his class.
"It don't take long for a man to open up," Rucker said, "when another man say something, he like, 'let me say something', and share what I've been through."
Sharing is something that didn't come naturally to father-of-two Jacolbi Jarrett who enrolled in the inaugural Man 2 Man course as a favor to his friend, instructor Shon Hart.
What he didn't expect, was that opening up to others, would help him learn to become a better husband and a better father.
"You can check the box for being there at the games, what about your heart," he said, "am I really there for a Facebook photo opp, or is my heart really there to be there for my family?"
"When we get them here we gotta make you a better you first, so you become a better father, a better husband, a better friend," said program founder Shon Hart.
Hart just landed 100-thousand dollars in grant money from the Ruth Mott Foundation and Recast to launch an entirely new program in January, working with the Friend Of The Court to help dads with child support issues get back on track.
"This will be the first time where someone says we're going to focus a lot of our energies on parenting skills, and does that make you a better parent and a better parent emotionally and financially," said Tony McDowell, Genesee County Deputy Friend Of The Court, "that's what we'll be evaluating as we go through this program."
Hart will provide men with financial assistance as they complete the coursework to improve their parenting skills.
"Get current with the child support," Hart said, "that's the buy in, ultimately we want to restore the family."
He added, "Let the mother know it's important for the father to be in the child's life, to break the cycle of incarceration, of poverty, of low self-esteem."
For more information on the current course that Hart teaches, Man 2 Man, just click on the link to the left.
The brand new parenting curriculum will be overseen by Hart, who will hire facilitators, beginning in January of 2018.