Though having a female fill the new Fatherhood Behavior Management Specialist position at SCCAP may seem ironic to some, Abbey Bonner is up to the challenge.
Bonner, originally of Columbus, was hired at the beginning of October, and she is already taking her projects on full force.
She said the new position was created because Shirley Stumpner, Head Start Director, and Todd Lare, Executive Director, saw a need for more fatherhood initiative, combining the realms of Head Start, Circles, and Family Advocacy into a full-time position.
Bonner said her duties will be split. One aspect is in-home behavior support, which means helping parents learn new strategies of positive reinforcement and discipline without spanking. Another big responsibility will be restarting the Hoosier Daddies meetings, which help promote involvement for Head Start dads.
Bonner said the program will be opened to some Circles fathers and, she hopes, eventually to the community at large. The meetings fell by the wayside a few years ago, and they will now fall under the duties of the new position.
Hoosier Daddies helps teach the need for being a “24/7” presence in a child’s life. Bonner said the program also focuses on events for the whole family, such as bowling or game nights.
Though she said she was worried about being a female in this role at first, Bonner said she held interest groups with some of the dads, who said the different perspective she would bring would add something new.
Bonner said her goals are to help parents become more confident in their skills and to make the meetings more beneficial to participants.
“Coming from a place where I used to do work with families that was court ordered, it’s nice to work with families that are actually asking for support,” she said.