This Roxbury Nonprofit Wants Every Child to Grow Up with a Father

 ·  Jamie Ducharme , The Boston Magazine   ·   Link to Article

For his entire life, Charles Daniels Jr. has been shaped by the absence of his father—first personally, then professionally.

Daniels, a social worker and a father himself, runs a unique clinic called Fathers’ Uplift. Through fatherhood-specific support, including mental healthcare, family counseling, and life skills development, the Roxbury nonprofit hopes to stamp out paternal absenteeism and bring families together.

“I wanted to give people what my father didn’t have, which is a partner,” Daniels says. “How can we improve relationships, and also the father’s well-being and health, for the sake of the child?”

While Daniels now acknowledges his father’s emotional burden and the difficulty of his situation—Charles was born outside of his father’s marriage—watching his mother struggle with single parenthood took its toll. Daniels says he even considered suicide.

“Much of the stuff that almost took me to the window to end my life was connected to my father—feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy,” he says. “It really interfered with my ability to trust others, to be in a relationship with others.”

It’s that raw personal experience that drives Daniels, giving him the motivation to run Fathers’ Uplift and pen a new book titled Pre-Father Care: Prenatal Care for Fathers. His mission, he says, is to address the myriad, oft-ignored obstacles—whether emotional, financial, or environmental—that prevent men from becoming good fathers, and from caring for themselves.

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