When you hear the term 'Dad Cafe' images of televisions with football, beer and burgers, and, of course, endless dad jokes may spring to mind.
But, in reality, this Dad Cafe in Kalamazoo is so much more vital than those generalizations.
Recently, Now Kalamazoo published an article detailing something many people may not know exists: a Dad Cafe. The purpose? To provide support for local fathers who are seeking assistance.
It's true that fathers are often forgotten when discussions are held about parents needing support. How many times have you witnessed someone's surprise at a single father raising their children (or have felt that surprise yourself)? Dads need just as much support with parenting as anyone else but, perhaps thanks to society's outlook on fatherhood or manhood, men may not feel free to openly express their needs. That's where the Dad Cafe comes in.
The cafe is organized by the Fatherhood Network, a support group that,
is aimed at strengthening family relationships before, during, and after the child rearing process.
All in all, about ten fathers, along with their small children, meet at the Dad Cafe twice a month to enjoy some food while discussing areas where they need support.
Those discussions could cover anything from buying new clothes for the kids, ongoing job stress, how to help a sick child, and everything in between. And, especially when we may feel more isolated than ever, they may seek general support through the pandemic.
In his interview with Now Kalamazoo, the Fatherhood Network organizer, Derek Miller, pointed out how many programs were available for women (which he praised) but that,
When you’re a dad having a hard time finding a program to help you, that’s a problem.
The Fatherhood Network was founded in 2017 but, Miller hopes that word of the program will spread.
Life can be tough, especially when you have a tiny human that is relying on you. And, every person deserves a space where they can feel supported. If you are a father looking for this exact kind of space, you can read more about the Fatherhood Network and their Dad Cafe here.