‘It taught me the character that I needed’: Midlands nonprofit helps men become better fathers

Because of the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition, Keito Jordan says he has a relationship with his children and a grandchild.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 7:08 PM EDT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - At 22, Keito Jordan was released from prison and was struggling to find direction with his life.

Jordan grew up without his father in his life and said he felt like his life was “going in the wrong direction.”

“I had to figure out that something was wrong and I had to find help,” Jordan told WIS News 10 anchors Judi Gatson and Cynthia Beasley.

That’s when he found the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition, an organization that provides free services to fathers and families.

When it was time for Jordan to graduate for the program, he stuck around and volunteered for 12 years until Midlands Fatherhood Coalition hired him full-time.

“I’m more like a life-long student,” Jordan said.

The program has a peer support group with six weeks of free classes on parenting, healthy relationships and men’s health. Eleanor Boyd, Director of Development with the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition, said the non-profit also helps make sure the fathers become employed and are able to support their families.

“Every father that comes to us will set their own goals.” Boyd said. “Some are related to education, related to parenting, related to custody issues. There’s quite a range.”

But the important first step for many fathers is recognizing they need help.

“Courage is doing what we need to do, not worrying about how people feel about us,” Jordan said. “When it comes to being a father, that’s such an important responsibility and role.”

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Jordan said the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition fills an important role for men by teaching them how to become good fathers.

“Midlands Fatherhood is a surrogate teacher. It taught me the values, it taught me the character that I needed,” Jordan said. “It taught me the traits that I needed to go out in the world, make better decisions, and try to become the man I saw in my dreams.”

Because of the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition, Jordan says he has a relationship with his children and a grandchild. His children are living with their integrity and “they have a chance at life,” he told WIS News 10.

“It helped me understand legacy, reputation and our namesake,” he said about the program.

Daddy & Me 5K

Midlands Fatherhood Coalition-Daddy & Me 5k winner
Midlands Fatherhood Coalition-Daddy & Me 5k winner(Judi Gatson)

Every year at Saluda Shoals Park, the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition hosts a 5K for fathers and families.

“We do this race to celebrate fathers and fatherhood,” Boyd said.

People can register online for the race which will take place on June 18.

Boyd said she hopes through the nonprofit’s work people realize how “critically important” fathers are to society.

“Children are three times less likely to live in poverty in the U.S. if they have a father in their life,” Boyd said.

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