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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Program Pairs Mentor Fathers With Fatherless Boys

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Jun 04
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As 37 percent of children in the U.S. are growing up in fatherless homes, an organization called Fathers in the Field aims to help fatherless boys ages 7 to 17 by pairing them with mentor fathers from local churches, WORLD News Service reports. Mentor fathers first need a pastor's reference, community reference and background check to participate in the three-year Fathers in the Field program, during which the pairs meet at least four times a month: twice to attend church, once for community service to widows and once for outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, camping and fixing car motors. At the end of the year, mentor fathers bring their boys, called field buddies, on a three-day trip. John Smithbaker, founder of Fathers in the Field, says the major benefit is the relationship that develops through the activities. By gaining a boy's trust, he says, mentor fathers can tell them about the love of their heavenly Father and the need to forgive their earthly abandoner. Smithbaker mentors 7-year-old Brayden, who lives with his grandmother without a father figure in his life. Brayden's grandma says Brayden now helps around the house, reminds her to pray before meals, and has "learned that it's OK if his earthly dad left," because, in Brayden's own words, his Heavenly Father "stays by my side all the time and never leaves me."