Mobile Arcade visits Man-Cave
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kids and grown folks alike enjoyed hours of Mario Kart and Madden football as an 18-wheeler loaded with video games parked at the Man-Cave site, located at St. Joseph Head Start Center in Hartsville.
On Friday, July 24, the video games truck provided another fun attraction at a facility already geared toward good times for a good cause. The Man-Cave is part of Darlington County First Steps Parents Are First (PAF) program, and the site – kitted out with flat screen TVs, a pool table and lounge area – was specially designed as a social center catering to young fathers, a key demographic sorely in need of strengthening.
“Consider that 71-percent of kids that go into the Department of Juvenile Justice come out of fatherless homes. When we look that amount of deviant behavior, we have to trace it back to the lack of parents, or a lack of fathering, in the community,” says Derrick Dease, executive director of Man 2 Man Fatherhood Initiative and consultant for the PAF program.
Dease adds that when any father – even a non-custodial father – contributes his time, attention, and financial resources to his children, their chances for success in life increase dramatically. Facilities like the Man-Cave offer young fathers a fun place to hang out, to decompress, and to find resources (counseling, peer support) that can help them succeed as parents.
“We want men to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps, but some of them don’t even have boots,” Dease says. “We have to help them get started, and then they can lift themselves up.”
Lt. Tenyonde Richardson of the Hartsville Police Department was on hand to talk with guests about the STAND program, an intervention effort aimed at diverting low-level drug offenders away from the justice system and back onto the right track. Richardson said the STAND program met with great success in North Charleston and Conway, and he hopes that Hartsville’s program (which could begin as soon as November) will assist young men to strive for better lives for themselves and their kids.
In addition to the mobile arcade, guests at the Man-Cave enjoyed a great lunch cooked by Chef Cornell Murray, and had a chance to win gift cards and prizes in a raffle.
To learn more about the Parents are First program or other services provided by Darlington County First Steps, please visit their website at www.DarlingtonCountyFirstSteps.org, or call (843) 857-3148