Our Next show:

Information coming soon

Our Blog

The Real and Raw Impact of Out of the Ashes Posted by Christopher A. Brown

Out of The Ashes - Thursday, November 15, 2018

National Fatherhood Initiative's recently released Out of the Ashes: Where a Seed Finds Life DVD and Discussion Guide is having a big impact across the nation.

I recently interviewed several staff in organizations that use Out of the Ashes with diverse groups of dads who are currently or formerly incarcerated. Every person I spoke with said the film resonates with dads at a deep emotional level regardless of dads' race or ethnicity. They also said it's an excellent compliment to NFI and other fatherhood programs because it enhances their impact.

Here is how three organizations use this outstanding resource.

out-of-the-ashes.jpgCatholic Charities West Michigan (Grand Rapids, MI)

Timmy Smith, Coordinator of the Fathers Matter Program, reports that he uses Out of the Ashes with two groups of dads. One group includes dads reentering Muskegon County after their release from the county jail. (Some of these dads transitioned from state prison to the county jail before their release.) Timmy says that the film reminds them of the relationships they didn't have with their children. It showed these dads some of the things that might transpire as they reunite with their children. 

The other group, which Timmy refers to as the "community group," includes dads referred to Fathers Matter by staff of the Wisconsin Department of Human Services, including staff of Child Protective Services. It is with this second group of dads that Timmy uses Out of the Ashes to compliment a fatherhood program. He's found that many of the dads in the community group were once incarcerated, so it's had a meaningful impact on them. For the dads who haven't been incarcerated, Timmy says he hopes it serves as a deterrent by giving them a preview of what would likely happen to the relationship with their children should they go down the wrong path.

He says that even though the film focuses on two African-Americans it resonates with dads of all races and ethnicities because they experience the same family dynamics caused by incarceration. One of the most powerful messages it sends to any incarcerated or formerly incarcerated father, for example, is that the choices and decisions a man makes early in life will impact him and his children for years to come and might, in fact, impact his children for their entire life.

Northeast Denver Islamic Center (Denver, CO)

Abdur-Rahim Ali, Imam of the Northeast Denver Islamic Center, also uses Out of the Ashes with currently and formerly incarcerated dads. Imam Ali uses it to compliment NFI's evidence-based InsideOut Dad® program that he facilitates with dads in the Jefferson County Jail. He also uses it with dads who have already reentered the community after their release from prison. He said that you can hear a pin drop when the dads watch the film. It makes dads think deeply because they can see themselves in the film. It makes them think about the broad impact of being incarcerated (e.g. on their children) and that dads should take their life seriously. It sends a message that dads must set an example for their children and grandchildren by exhibiting healthy behavior.

He also reports that the film resonates with dads of all races and ethnicities. And that's vital for Imam Ali because most of the fathers he works with are White or Hispanic.

Sav-a-Life Pregnancy Resource Center (Hoover, AL)

Steve Longenecker, Director of Programs for Sav-a-Life Pregnancy Resource Center, also uses Out of the Ashes with two groups of dads. In this case, however, both groups include formerly incarcerated dads. One of the groups includes dads who live in a halfway house having just been released from prison. The dads in the other group returned to the community some time ago and participate in a program the center calls "Converge Dads." Steve says the film starts a conversation about reconciliation and, specifically, the realities around dads reconciling with their children. He and the other staff who use the film like that it doesn't look at the dynamics around reconciliation through rose-colored glasses. As he says, it's "real and raw." 

If you've thought about using Out of the Ashes but haven't yet made the decision to acquire it, rest assured that it will help your organization or program have an even greater positive impact on currently and formerly incarcerated dads, their children, and their families. Don't hesitate to use this real and raw resource! 

The One Resource Grayson County Detention Center Uses to Open Dads' Hearts and Minds to Group-Based Fatherhood Programs

Out of The Ashes - Thursday, November 15, 2018

Facilitator Certification Training

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I regularly interview staff and volunteers in organizations that use National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) programs and other resources. These interviews often provide insight into creative uses of our programs and resources that I share in this blog to help organizations become even more effective in serving dads.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Morris Basham. Morris facilitates InsideOut Dad®—NFI’s evidence-based program for incarcerated fathers—at the Grayson County Detention Center, a facility in Leitchfield, Kentucky that houses federal and state inmates.

As Morris and I talked about InsideOut Dad®, he told me he uses another NFI resource for incarcerated dads, Out of the Ashes: Where a Seed Finds Life, to enhance his delivery of the program.

Out of the Ashes Facilitator Certification TrainingIf you’re not familiar with Out of the Ashes, it’s a powerful 32-minute film—a one-act play, of sorts—that generates dialogue and a healing process among incarcerated dads. Organizations can also use it with the children and loved ones (e.g. moms of dads’ children and dads’ relatives) impacted by a dad’s incarceration. It includes a Facilitated Discussion Guide with questions that help incarcerated fathers, their children, and family members explore the issues, thoughts, and feelings caused by a dad’s incarceration. (Click here and here to read two posts in this blog about this film.)

Morris uses Out of the Ashes to provide dads who express interest in joining an InsideOut Dad® group with a taste of what it’s like to participate in a group-based program and, most important, the emotionally intimate environment the program creates. Morris says that the discussion the film generates helps dads understand the commitment they must make to get the most out of the program.

Demand for InsideOut Dad® is high at the Grayson County Detention Center. Unlike running a fatherhood program for dads in a community, recruitment is rarely an issue in a corrections setting. Facilitators of InsideOut Dad® report that they often have more demand than they can handle. In many facilities, there is a process of promotion, application, and selection into the program. Dads not selected to participate end up on a waiting list and must either wait for a new group(s) to start or go through the entire process again.

Morris has a well-developed and tested selection process that he’s enhanced with Out of the Ashes. The process to select dads to participate:

  • Starts four weeks prior to the start of several InsideOut Dad® groups.
  • The facility posts in cellblocks the availability of the program.
  • The posts inform dads that they can apply to participate.
  • After a review of the applications, Morris selects 70-80 dads to participate in the program and divides them into three “orientation sessions.”

Each 1.5-hour session starts with dads watching the film. A 1-hour discussion ensues that Morris facilitates using the discussion guide. Morris says that the film generates such an in-depth and intimate discussion that he typically has to abruptly end the session. The film shows the dads what participating in InsideOut Dad® is like and the impact their incarceration has on their children.

After the orientation sessions, some dads choose to not continue in the program. This self-selection leaves Morris with dads who enter the first program session with “eyes wide open.” A bonus is the orientation session makes dads more comfortable early on in the program with being transparent and honest with themselves and other dads about who they are and their relationships with their children and children’s primary caregiver(s). 

Whether you use InsideOut Dad® or a 24/7 Dad® program in a corrections setting and have a selection process to identify dads to participate, use of Out of the Ashes as an orientation session is a fantastic idea worth exploring. You can also integrate an “Out of the Ashes Session” into one of our programs, as some other facilitators have done (e.g. between the program’s transition from a focus on the man to a focus on the father). It’s also useful as a stand-alone resource in corrections and non-corrections settings for generating discussion about the impact of incarceration on dads, children, and loved ones.

Have you considered using Out of the Ashes as an orientation session or integrating it into one of our programs?

How effectively do you use (e.g. combine) NFI’s programs and resources?



Out of the Ashes: U of D Student Impact

Out of The Ashes - Sunday, January 07, 2018

University of Delaware Student Impact: How Out of the Ashes Touched Our Class.

November 2017


Coley Harris and Ahmarr Melton presented to the Dr. Ann Aviles's students in her Family Studies and Human Development class. The students responded with a warm video impact statement. We are thankful for your support.


Come out and witness this powerful presentation on January 18, 2017 at Stubbs Elementary School

REGISTER HERE

Making Fatherhood Popular

Out of The Ashes - Thursday, November 17, 2016

This post came from a mission that I have which is changing the world through making fatherhood popular. I think a lot of people don't fully understand the importance of this role and take it for granted. I want to use Out of The Ashes as a platform to increase awareness and change the dialogue around the topic.

September 28th, 2016

Out of The Ashes - Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Just Grateful

Out of The Ashes - Friday, September 16, 2016

Top 5 Things That New Dads Get Wrong!

Out of The Ashes - Monday, September 12, 2016

Being a Dad is not for the faint at heart. Your children will test your grit. Our children are masters at pushing buttons and pulling on heart strings. Many parents learn how to put on that tough skin and weather the storm of a teenager, but what about the new parent?  Here are a few tips for the new parent, whether it be through a blended family, first child or re-entering your child's life.



These 5 easy tips will put you light years ahead.
  1. Don't try to be your child's friend. I know we want to hear all of their little secrets and walk them through the pains of life, but a healthy separation will keep the relationship in perspective. After all, does a friend tell a child that they are grounded?
  2. Give a child structure. Even with attempting to allow our children to express their autonomy we must still give them some structure, a foundation from whence to spread their wings.
  3. Share some of your short comings. It is ok to be imperfect. Sharing a failure will allow for children learn from our lessons and not be afraid to take healthy risk.  
  4. Be compassionate. Just because you are the DAD does not mean you have to be iron. Children look for security and nurturing from both parents.
  5. Lead by example. The do as I say not as I do days are gone. The entire world is going to form an opinion about us by what they see, why would our children be any different.

I hope that these tips have proven to be helpful. Let's stay in touch. Please share some of your cool parenting tips and experiences on our page. Thanks. 

Beauty in the struggle

Out of The Ashes - Sunday, September 04, 2016


I can remember walking home, to my cousin/brother's house in WIlmington, Delaware at 11pm from 8th street to 38th street. I had to be back to work by 7am. I was never late. I can remember asking people to allow for me to volunteer at their youth programs, so that I could get into the field where I was passionate. They blew me off, lied to me and spun me.Then Mike Barbieri gave me a shot!


I love this process! I love the growth through the struggle. It took spiritual enlightenment to for me to understand that the gatekeepers knew not what they did by trying to keep the message from the people. It was yet another piece of the "master plan unfurling before my eyes, manifest and real."

Thank the Most High for this journey as we move forward. As I left my son this morning after our walk I experienced a familiar feeling. It is a cataclysmic mental shift that takes place before the breakthrough. Oh yes, a familiar feeling. I often tell our children on the inside to shift that energy and do not allow yourself to be denied ANYTHING ON GOD'S CREATION of the good.

Did I tell you that I love the struggle?

Be firm, be consistent, be present

Out of The Ashes - Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Children have a knack for doing some of the most confounding things. Some days you pour out all of your wisdom from
decades of successes and failures only to have them totally disregard everything you said. IT HURTS!


We want to be able to guide our children and make their decisions for them at times. How did that work for us when
we were teenagers and young adults.


We can only guide and stick to our principles and proven practices.
We can only be the same person day in and day out, unwavering in our support (however that may look).
Most importantly we must be present in our child's life. Even as they get older they will still turn to you and your voice should be there.

The light in their eyes.

Out of The Ashes - Saturday, August 13, 2016
I had an opportunity to enjoy one of life's simple pleasures. Watching my grandchildren play.
My middle grandson is turning 4 tomorrow. See if him and his siblings play and enjoy the love of their parents warms my heart.


Children do better when they have both children in their life. Even if a parent is outside of the home children
do better academically and emotionally when they have the support of mother and father.


Sometimes it hurts and it can be challenging, but we have to keep the real goal in mind.
The light I see in my grandchildren's' eyes is the same light that guides a human vessel throughout lifes storms.
Make sure you do your all to ensure the light shines bright in them all.

Contact Us For More Information

We would be honored to bring this powerful and relevant presentation to your organization.
Please feel free to contact them with any questions about the power and impact