A new North Carolina-based organization aims to help Black men better their fatherhood and life skills to create stronger men, children and communities, now and in the future.
Black Dad University, launched last week, is an online program with a focus on improving family relationships, leadership skills and the image of Black fatherhood. Founder Alfred Smith, a professional counselor and a former pastor, says the program is part training and part coaching. It will offer courses, webinars, articles, one-on-one sessions and — importantly — community for other Black dads in these trying times.
“Life is going to deal our children pain. Not just racism. There’s going to be other pain, racism is one of them, that they have to learn how to deal with,” Smith said in a video release to the media. “So I tell parents don’t rescue your child from all their pain. Teach them how to deal with it. Don’t rescue them from everything that’s hard. Teach them resilience.”
Black Dad University is offering free courses throughout the rest of April so people can test it out. Topics to be covered include improving communication with your children, punishment verses discipline, and fostering a better self-image for your child.
The Black Lives Matter movement, a response to numerous acts of violence against Blacks — men in particular — involving police, help inspire his work.
“We kept talking about ‘Black lives matter,’ which I’m all about. Black lives do matter. But my thing was how do we get a Black life to matter as early as possible and have the biggest impact on that Black life. That happens in the home,” Smith said in the video media release.
Smith also hopes to combat the “absent Black father” myth. While a 2017 U.S. Census Bureau report found that more than half of Black children under age 18 live in a household with just a mother (it was closer to 25 percent of all children), an earlier U.S. Centers for Disease Control study found that Black fathers were often more involved with their children than other dads regardless of whether they lived with them.
Smith holds college degrees in leadership and counseling and, according to the the Black Dad University website, has more than 30 years experience helping fathers meet their challenges.
Watch this introductory video on Black Dad University from its website: