Frank Todd is not sure where he would be without Dad’s Business.
Two years ago, the father-of-four turned to the program for perspective on his role as a dad – but he gained much more.
The confidence and understanding Frank found in talking to fathers facing similar challenges empowered him to such an extent that he couldn’t stay away.
After Frank completed his fourth course certificate, Dad’s Business Social Worker Darren Clarke took note of his enthusiasm and offered him the role of resident volunteer.
“I was ecstatic just to be asked,’’ Frank said.
“To be able to have an impact on other fathers who are in similar or very different situations but want to better themselves, even it’s just making them a coffee and talking and listening, that’s a starting point.’’
Frank spends at least two days a week at Dad’s Business HQ at Elizabeth Downs.
His tasks include cleaning, keeping stock of the pantry and making hot drinks for clients.
On the days he’s not required, Frank will often still show up, even if only to sweep up the leaves out the front.
“Children’s futures are very important,’’ Frank said.
“Yes, we have to look after ourselves, but if we’re not looking after our children now when they’re little, then the decisions they make later might be different.’’
The first space of its kind in the north, Dad’s Business HQ provides dads with a safe space to seek parenting and other supports.
Activities come from a place of hope and focus on building self-esteem and addressing shame through acceptance and honesty so that the dads recognise the value of fathers in family and children’s lives.
In partnership with Communities for Children facilitating partner AnglicareSA, Centacare oversees the HQ where dads can drop in for a chat and seek advice, referral to services, parenting education, advocacy, counselling, and support for alcohol and other drugs.
“Because I came to Dad’s Business, I was able to deal with things going on in my own life that are partially beyond my control,’’ Frank said.
“Because of Darren’s influence, I made different decisions.’’
In the future, Frank hopes to balance his volunteer work with study.
“My plan is to do a Certificate III in Community Services so I can work my way into a role like Darren’s,’’ he said.
Facilitating partner AnglicareSA Communities for Children Playford funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
*Frank’s role is being highlighted as part of National Volunteer Week, an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers. The theme for this year is `making a world of difference’. For more information, visit Volunteering Australia.