SUMTER, S.C. — A 'Dad's Den' is coming soon to the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition's Sumter location. The nonprofit is currently fundraising to furnish the room, which will provide a safe space for men to bond with their children
"Reshaping and reforming stability within your life," Derek Baccus shared about what he's trying to do, along with help from Midlands Fatherhood Coalition.
"Since we opened in 2016, our population has exploded," Director of Programs Keith Ivey says.
Ivey explains the next step in serving the Sumter, Lee and Clarendon County population is to create the 'Dad's Den'.
"They may not have a fun place to take their child, and hey, we say ‘Why not here?" Ivey said. "So it’s much more than just for dads. It’s for the whole family to come and enjoy and utilize to help their family grow and bond."
The newly renovated room will be a space for fathers to connect with their children, which Baccus thinks is useful.
"I think having that safe space and to have the resources, it definitely helps with putting your life back together," Baccus explained.
The organization received a $40,000 grant that has gone toward renovating the room.
Now, it just needs to be furnished.
"It doesn’t just affect the direct fathers and children that we serve, but it affects the entire community," Regional Director of Development Eleanor Boyd explained. "When dads are involved, children are much more likely to complete their education and to have healthy relationships and be good parents in the future."
Because of this, Boyd says community members can directly benefit from the help that MFC provides.
"When fathers are involved, communities are safer, there’s a greater sense of well-being and they are more economically stable," Boyd added.
For Baccus, the lessons that will be taught in the room go a long way.
"To have somebody remind you that as a man, you’re not a robot. You are allowed to have feelings, you are allowed to have feelings is very important," Baccus shared. "It’s just a general stigma as a man, you're not supposed to express these feelings or have these feelings, but to have that network around you, it really helps you get through these experiences that you're told you’re supposed to keep it inside, just deal with it."
Boyd says the goal is for the 'Dad's Den' to be furnished and in use by March 2023.
If you’re interested in donating to the Dad's Den, you can visit MidlandsFathers.com or email email@example.com.
"We need much more funding to help buy furniture, buy chairs, do a mural. Those types of things to make it have that feel of a Dad's Den," Ivey shared.
"When you’re in a space that’s bright and beautiful and clean, it uplifts your mood, it helps you have a more positive outlook on life. It’s really a game changer," Boyd added. "And so a lot of our dads don't have those spaces where they are living, so this is our space. We want them to feel like ‘This is my living room.’ We want them to bring their child to this space."