Department of Family Services – Children, Youth and Families

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7500 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Oriane Eriksen

Father Engagement Program for Volunteers - Dads Parenting Groups

Volunteer with the Father Engagement Unit

The Father Engagement Unit focuses on parenting and fathering skills to promote and enhance the importance of fathers in Fairfax County. Currently, volunteer facilitators are needed to lead Dads Parenting Groups for fathers.

What are Dads Parenting Groups?

father and child plaing guitarAttending a Dads Parenting Group can help fathers increase their positive involvement with their children, contributing to their overall safety and well-being. Each Dads Parenting Group teaches effective strategies to enhance the following characteristics: 

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-care
  • Relationship skills
  • Fathering skills
  • Parenting skills

Most participants are non-custodial, non-residential fathers, or fathers in conflictual relationships with the mother of their children. Dads Parenting Groups are only open to fathers and father figures, which helps create a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment. 

The Dads Parenting Group is designed to support fathers who struggle with parenting or engaging with their children. Volunteers are trained to help fathers build positive, consistent relationships with their children while being supportive of co-parenting mothers. 

“I took in everyone’s story and what they were saying. This is real stuff - my goal is to take what I got from this class and start my own class.” – Dads Parenting Group graduate

How Does It Work?

The Dads Parenting Group is free to participants. Community volunteers help make this possible by helping to facilitate each 13-week group.

It’s easy to get started! 

Step 1 – Complete onboarding process.
Step 2 – Receive training in the 24/7 Dads™ curriculum.
Step 3 – Shadow a Dads Parenting Group.
Step 4 – Co-facilitate a Dads Parenting Group with a lead facilitator. 

Volunteer facilitators can participate in several groups throughout the year but must commit to co-facilitating at least one 13-week group.

How Can You Help?

Become A Volunteer Facilitator 

We are looking for committed fathers or father figures to co-facilitate the Dads Parenting Groups:

  • Volunteers must commit to co-lead one Dads Parenting Group from 6:30-8:30 p.m., one evening a week for 13 weeks.   
  • Volunteer facilitators must be reliable, accepting, patient, honest, flexible, motivated, and cooperative. 
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish speaking) volunteers are highly encouraged to apply.

For more information, email Samantha Carrico or call 703-324-7576.

Learn more about the application process and criteria for becoming a volunteer with the Father Engagement Program. Apply to volunteer today!

Meet Our Volunteer

James CherryJames Cherry is the proud father of three beautiful girls, including a set of twins. Having retired from a career with Verizon Communications, he currently serves as an IT deputy division chief with the US Department of Defense. James has been a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity for over 27 years, currently serving as chapter reporter and chairman of the Fatherhood Initiative and Mentoring Committee for the Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter in Fairfax County. James enjoys speaking and is regularly asked to lend his voice to emceeing events and voice-over opportunities for his church (Mount Olive Baptist Church) and fraternity.  As a co-facilitator for the Dads Parenting Groups, James says, “I love the level of transparency the fathers display, and I am always proud to see the emotional support they gave each other and their commitment to do the work needed for continuous progression."

Get to know James through this video and understand why he spends his time co-leading Dads Parenting Groups and providing male mentorship through this program.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant