Helping Fathers in the Heartland is a video and discussion-based program designed to help organizations and communities (including churches) address the needs of fathers. It is intended for use in small groups of potential stakeholders who are interested in encouraging father engagement. Participants are encouraged to consider the following:

  1. Are the needs of fathers addressed in our organization or community? If so, how is this done and who does it?
  2. How might we as a community or organization more effectively reach out to fathers?
  3. What are the steps to starting a Good Dads initiative?
  4. How and why might we focus on helping fathers through a school-based approach?
  5. What are some of the best ways to fund the work we hope to do?


Helping Fathers in the Heartland is a program designed to help mental health professionals, community organizers, members of the faith community, and other interested professionals to gain the knowledge and information needed to improve their work with fathers in their setting (community, counseling center, church, school, recovery center, etc.). Its focus is on training participants to initiate a community-based effort to accomplish the following:

  1. Consider, assess, and evaluate community and organization perspective on fathers.

  2. Understand the relevance of father engagement to one’s setting (e.g. counseling center, community organization, business setting, faith community) and its implications to organizational identity.

  3. Identify the steps to beginning a broad-based, father-focused initiative.

  4. Explore, analyze, and explain some of the best places to begin a father-focused initiative.

  5. Understand and identify ways to fund efforts focused on advocacy for father engagement.

Helping Fathers in the Heartland curriculum cover images

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Helping Fathers in the Heartland
(HFH) Facilitator Training:

Participants in the one-day HFH Facilitator Training will gain the knowledge, skills, and strategies they need to help their organization or community group increase the efficacy of their work with fathers. They will also build relationships with others with similar goals and objectives, becoming part of a larger community of individuals focused on promoting responsible and engaged fathers.

Parties interested in scheduling a HFH Training Session may call the Good Dads office at
(417)-501-8867 or email Dr. Jennifer Baker at with the subject line
"HFH Training."

get trained to lead a hfh course!

Our next training camp is May 22-26, 2023 in Downtown Springfield. We will host a one-day training for HFH at the event, so you'll get everything you need to know to effectively facilitate a HFH group. Click the button below to sign up!

Register for Training Camp Here

Participants will be able to:

  1. Cite evidence from personal experience and research that men care about relationships.
  2. List the hopes and dreams of men and their partners and how they may want to be helped in achieving their goals.
  3. Explain why many men have few role models for healthy relationships. Who are their role models for a healthy relationship?
  4. Identify barriers and challenges fathers may face in achieving self-sufficiency and the ability to support their children.
  5. Identify father-specific resources in one’s community, if any.
  6. Describe one’s community, including location, demographics, strengths and weaknesses. Include existing resources and challenges to promoting work focused on father engagement.
  7. Describe the four areas of focus associated with the Good Dads model.
  8. Identify and describe father engagement efforts currently available in one’s community.
  9. List the core values governing the work of one’s organization and their relationship to promoting father engagement.
  10. Describe the Good Dads Strong Schools model and why it may be the best way to initiate father-focused activities in a community.
  11. Identify potential community champions who can assist in advocacy for father engagement.
  12. Describe various funding streams necessary to forming a fiscally sound fatherhood initiative.


Community Organizer Bundle – $299.95
Small Town Investor Bundle – $245
Community Partner Bundle – $149

Looking for other ways to bundle?

To order additional course sets, flash drives or any other Helping Fathers in the Heartland materials, please call Director of Operations Rhonda Andersen at 417-501-8867 Ext. 2 or email her at

Jennifer Baker headshot

Jennifer L. Baker PsyD – Dr. Baker is a licensed clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist. She is Founder and Executive Director of Good Dads, Inc., a non-profit focused on helping fathers be more engages with their children.  From 2003-2011 she provided leadership for two large federal grants serving persons living in 29 counties in southwest Missouri.  In 2018, she was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Springfield Business Journal. She launched New Pathways for Good Dads, a program to help under-resourced dads overcome the barrier challenging their ability and opportunity to be good dads. 

Drew Dilisio headshot

Drew Dilisio MS PLPC – Drew Dilisio holds a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Drew is certified to teach PREP 8.0, Fundamentals of Fatherhood, and Helping Fathers in the Heartland. He specializes in Family Systems therapy with an emphasis on couples and fathers going through divorce. He is the counselor and community specialist at Good Dads. Drew is also an adjunct Professor at Evangel University where he teaches Counseling Skills in the graduate program. He has experience working with a variety of populations, from men at Victory Mission, a drug and alcohol treatment program, to being the counseling intern at Drury University. While at Drury he had the opportunity to learn a lot about stress and the stress response and building resilient college students. 

Mike Dawson headshot

Mike Dawson EdD – As an educator and administrator with over 25 years’ experience in public schools in California, Iowa, and Missouri, Dr. Mike Dawson understands the importance of fathers to the overall success of children. His professional roles include teacher, principal, superintendent, and Chief Learning Officer. Mike currently serves as the Executive Director of Instructional Services for the Branson School District. His passion is to create school structures and systems to ensure all students can succeed. He is honored to partner with Good Dads as a way to promote parent engagement within schools throughout the region. Mike earned his doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas.

MODULE 1: Assess Fatherhood Focus in Your Community

Module 1 includes a 10-minute video that poses one chief question: Where do dads go for help in YOUR community? We all know there are plenty of organizations nationwide and globally that aid mothers and children, but a vast majority of dads will be hard-pressed to find constructive programs that aim to help fathers. The first vital step to establishing a Good Dads program in your community is to assess existing resources.

Module 1 covers “the father effect,” which is the benefit of positive paternal presence. It’s no secret there are endless benefits to prioritizing and cultivating engaged, loving fathers. However, there are plenty of barriers that hinder positive fatherhood development. Module 1 addresses those barriers and offer practical methods for positive fatherhood involvement.

MODULE 2:  Who We Are, What We Believe and What We Do

Module 2 poses the big question: What are your organization’s core beliefs? The 11-minute video included in this module covers how your organization’s existing identity and outreach can influence how you run a Good Dads program in your area. 

Considering the commonly held tenets surrounding fatherhood in the community at large will impact the niche a Good Dads program fills in a given landscape. We use the Good Dads Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, as an example in the Module 2 video. By reflecting on our core beliefs, we were able to isolate areas where our services were needed the most while setting attainable goals.

MODULE 3:  Getting a Good Dads Group Started

Module 3 is all about branding and identity. The 10-minute video that comes with Module 3 asks, How will my organization’s identity influence the people we will impact? The old adage “know your brand” plays a key role in understanding which kinds of people will benefit from a Good Dads program in your area.

No one organization can reach all dads at once. Module 3 poses several effective methods for narrowing the scope of your operation to achieve the biggest and most productive impact. Finding strong leaders to champion the brand and highlighting model behaviors are two important methods Good Dads explores in Module 3.

MODULE 4:  Good Dads—Strong Schools

Module 4 takes a deep dive into the benefits of creating opportunities for fathers to engage with their children’s educations. In the 17-minute video in Module 4, Good Dads discusses the one important resource that can reach many dads and impact many young lives for the better: schools. 

School-based programs have many advantages – they clearly connect father engagement to improve school outcomes, for one. Schools become valuable resources in the effort to foster good fatherhood practices because they allow fathers the time and space to connect with children in a learning environment with their children’s teachers. Module 4 offers resourceful methods for approaching, establishing and nurturing these mutually beneficial programs.

MODULE 5:  Funding Your Good Dads Vision

Module 5 examines the practicality of funding and fundraising. This module sets its participants up for success by helping groups get organized. Groups will determine what fundraising approaches are right for them, identify the places where the initiative are most likely to succeed and establish the best ways to secure a reliable funding stream.

Helping Fathers in the Heartland Blogs

Helping Fathers in the Heartland Podcasts

Becoming a Good Dads Ambassador

A Good Dads Ambassador is an individual who shares the mission and vision of Good Dads in an energized and compelling manner. This may include any of the following:

  1. Information conversation, e.g. coffee, with a friend or acquaintance.
  2. Arranging for a presentation from a Good Dads representative.
  3. Sharing information with others in a group setting about the importance of Good Dads.
  4. Using Good Dads resources, e.g. Helping Fathers in the Heartland, Module 1, to initiate a conversation about the importance of father engagement.

Typically, a Good Dads Ambassador is someone who has the time to talk with others, e.g. an “empty nester” or a recently retired person. He or she must believe in the importance of engaged fathers, understand a bit of the research, and enjoy talking with others.

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