Messages to My Mentor

I have been participating in Men of Bethany in America Men’s’ Series 33, since October 1, 2019, at the Open Door Mission. Before this, I was in the Douglas County jail and the Men of Bethany in America men started me in the Men’s’ Series 33. It was great to able to continue this journey of study. We meet every Monday evening for two hours. Men’s’ 33 is different than anything I have experienced before. This is the best program I have ever been involved with. So you know me a little better let me disclose who I was. I was a young man who exposed myself to meth, weed, alcohol, promiscuous sex, guns, starting all at age 11. Now when I look at my 11-year-old and couldn’t imagine him doing the things I have done. I grew up in north and east Omaha. since I have attended Men’s 33 I have had the opportunity to meet some great men. One of my mentors stands on how he relates to me. He is a retired police officer who worked in my area where I grew up. He is there for me every week and knows what it was like working on the other side of the law. I have issues I can trust him with and he relates back to me a better future. He has opened up my eyes. The program has given the second chance to see how great life can be. I am a new creature who has been forgiven for my sins and giving my life over to God. My path has taken me to a new time where I have become a friend with a man who probably was chasing me at one time during my teenage years doing stupid things.

I asked him if he knew my name? He responded with a yes. The name was well known. That really had me thinking about how I was raised. My goal in life then was to be the toughest, going to prison, robbing families in my area. All the families living in my area were probably part of the criminal element. I thought things I did and wanted to do were normal. Men’s 33 will touch you with issues and problems in the past and gives you the path and source to deal with them by identifying the source where it could have been father, mother, childhood or something else. Once you realize the key issues you can start doing the right and start the steps to fix or work on changing in the future. It has changed my outlook on serious life issues and has changed me for the better. I think Men’s 33 is also going to be something I am going to part of for years to come.

Thanks,

Michael D

Volunteers Are The Answer

We need your dedication to help!

Our life stories we hold dearly all have special meanings which influences our journey. Men of Bethany in America has member volunteers who provide support to men who have had absentee fathers or may have lived in a dysfunctional family. Our volunteers facilitate and advisee men in their lives with their challenges. Participant men need support focus on their future with key actions of best behaviors revealed to them by using the Men of Bethany in America curriculum.

Our volunteers promote brotherhood by partnering with fellow volunteers and communicating with men seeking an improvement plan in their lives. Our volunteer team represent a diverse distinction of careers, income, families, religions and experiences. The commitment they share embodies their willingness to share life experiences and follow the authentic manhood curriculum training for men. The authentic man program is now in its fifth year.

As we observe many of the tragedies in America today we are assuredly confident in one fact that continues to reveal an epidemic in our society. When we have negative affects from guns, drugs, prison, domestic abuse, sex abuse, and pornography; we find a common truth with these generations who often experienced absentee fathers.   We at Men of Bethany in America would like you to view our website testimonies where our men participants have communicated their thoughts about the Men of Bethany in America program. Upon graduating from the designed curriculum our volunteer men stay in contact with our graduates. 

Included in this packet is an executive summary and a description of the definition of MOBIA. Our success has presented a larger demand for us to expand our services to more men in search of how to be a better man. Our Board of Directors has committed to raising the necessary funds to continue to offer this opportunity to more men in the metropolitan area of Omaha, Nebraska. Stage two will be implementing the program nationally. It is time for us as a society to bring these men out of the dark to become better husbands, fathers, and most importantly authentic men.

I will be calling upon you to discuss any questions you may have regarding our mission and how you can be of some help to the success of changing lives.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Gary R. Carlson, Executive Director

Breaking the Cycle

How to Make Difference

In my lifetime I have been very compassionate about education and its value to our youth and adults. So much has been written about the benefits and the statistics to bear this out. My dedication has not varied on this premiss during my fifty years of continued engagement in the philosophy of the necessity of our society to be well educated.

After leaving ITT  my path continued to serve colleges through consulting schools on improving student retention, faculty performance, compliance, college board assistance, student success, school administration and curriculum development. During the last nine years I have had the privilege to serve over two hundred colleges. Three years ago my life gave me a new additional mission in life. It was parallel to my education efforts of the past but it was a clear direction focused on families and youth. During these years a small group of men began to assemble a new curriculum for young men and adult men who had experienced an absentee father. My first teaching experience in 1967 was in a county jail for young men age 13 to 18. These young men were mingled with youth who had committed crimes to others who had been at the hand of abuse. I often worked until 11 pm at night. My drive home couldn’t come to grips with why these young people didn’t seems to have a chance in society. Looking at what existed fifty-two years ago has only gotten worse. Our solutions to these problems by increasing the size of prisons and supplementing finances to the afflicted. We are still looking at increasing prison sizes and our welfare dollars are increasing.

I am pleased to tell you there is an answer. Again, it is a reflection on education. The cycle of increased crime, addiction, alcoholism, abuse and poverty can be broken. The cycle is our willingness to engage in the cognizance of the people closest to the ones who experience this blight of life.

In the last three years a small group of men began to dedicate themselves to break the cycle. Their journey took them to open door missions, jails, alternative high schools, churches and neighborhoods to address dysfunctional families and absentee fathers. Their hard work and dedication has opened an opportunity to change our path of a cycle that has existed for half a century.  Two hundred men a week from all ages come to weekly meetings to understand what a good father, husband, and authentic man would mean. Absentee father syndrome exists in America. The U.S. Census Bureau reports there are 19.7 million youth without a present father. What does this mean for the American society?

Our three years of service has changed the lives of many of our men. I would encourage you to visit the website of Breaking the cycle!

After clicking on the tab with testimonials help us grow this program nation wide. We are putting absentee fathers into a better understanding of what a good father and husband means to the family unit.

Go to the Donations button on the site and become part of breaking the cycle.

Every donation of any amount will help us continue to spread the news through our volunteer mentors.

Stats

FATHERLESS STATS

1. 23.6% of US children (17.4 million) lived in father absent homes in 2014.

[US Census Bureau, 2015] Living arrangements of children under 18 years and marital status of parents, by age, sex, race, and hispanic origin and selected characteristics of the child for all children: 2014. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.

2. In 2011, children living in female-headed homes with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%. This is over four times the rate for children living in married couple families.

[Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2012). Information on poverty and income statistics: A summary of 2012 current population survey data. Retrieved from: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/12/PovertyAndIncomeEst/ib.cfm%5D

3. A study of 1,397,801 infants in Florida evaluated how a lack of father involvement impacts infant mortality. A lack of father involvement was linked to earlier births as well as lower birth weights. Researchers also found that father absence increases the risk of infant mortality, and that the mortality rate for infants within the first 28 days of life is four times higher for those with absent fathers than those with involved fathers. Paternal absence is also found to increase black/white infant mortality almost four-fold.

[Source: Alio, A. P., Mbah, A. K., Kornosky, J. L., Wathington, D., Marty, P. J., & Salihu, H. M. (2011). Assessing the impact of paternal involvement on Racial/Ethnic disparities in infant mortality rates. Journal of Community Health, 36(1), 63-68.]

4. A study of 263 13- to 18-year-old adolescent women seeking psychological services found that the adolescents from father-absent homes were 3.5 times more likely to experience pregnancy than were adolescents from father-present homes. Moreover, the rate of pregnancy among adolescents from father absent homes was 17.4% compared to a four (4) percent rate in the general adolescent population.

[Source: Lang, D. L., Rieckmann, T., DiClemente, R. J., Crosby, R. A., Brown, L. K., & Donenberg, G. R. (2013). Multi-level factors associated with pregnancy among urban adolescent women seeking psychological services. Journal of Urban Health, 90, 212-223.]

5. A study of 1,618 Latina high school students found that lower perceived father support is a predictor of suicidal ideation and behavior.

[Source: De Luca, S. M., Wyman, P., & Warren, K. (2012). Latina adolescent suicide ideations and attempts: Associations with connectedness to parents, peers, and teachers. Suicide and Life-Threat Behavior, 42, 672-683.]

6. Disengaged and remote interactions of fathers with infants is a predictor of early behavior problems in children and can lead to externalizing behaviors in children as early as age 1.

[Source: Ramchandani, P. G., Domoney, J., Sethna, V., Psychogiou, L., Vlachos, H. and Murray, L. (2013). Do early father–infant interactions predict the onset of externalising behaviours in young children? Findings from a longitudinal cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54, 56–64.]

7. Researchers using secondary data from the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research examined gun carrying and drug trafficking in young men, linking father absence to the likelihood of engaging in these behaviors. Results from a sample of 835 juvenile male inmates found that father absence was the only disadvantage on the individual level with significant effects on gun carrying, drug trafficking, and co-occurring behavior. Individuals from father absent homes were found to be 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than peers living with their fathers.

[Source: Allen, A. N., & Lo, C. C. (2012). Drugs, guns, and disadvantaged youths: Co-occurring behavior and the code of the street. Crime & Delinquency, 58(6), 932-953.]

8. A study of the relationship between father absence and lower educational attainment for African American females found that a longer duration of father absence is a predictive factor for lower educational success. Researchers discovered that longer duration of father absence often leads to lower income and family economic stress, which puts young women at risk for lower educational achievement.

[Source: Gillette, M. T., & Gudmunson, C. G. (2014). Processes linking father absence to educational attainment among african american females. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(2), 309-321.]

9. Children with negative attitudes about school and their teachers experienced avoidance and ambivalence with their fathers. On the other hand, children with a secure attachment to their father and whose father was involved had a higher academic self-concept. The father-child attachment was more associated with the child’s social-emotional school outcomes than their academic achievement.

[Source: Newland, L., Chen, H., & Coyl-Shepherd, D. (2013). Associations among father beliefs, perceptions, life context, involvement, child attachment and school outcomes in the U.S. and Taiwan. Fathering, 11, 3-30.]

10. Father involvement is related to positive cognitive, developmental, and socio-behavioral child outcomes, such as improved weight gain in preterm infants, improved breastfeeding rates, higher receptive language skills, and higher academic achievement.

[Source: Garfield, C. F., & Isacco, A. (2006). Fathers and the well-child visit, Pediatrics, 117, 637-645.]

11. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of children with an incarcerated father grew 79% between 1991 and 2007. Black fathers accounted for nearly half (46%) of all children with an incarcerated father.

[Source: Glaze, L.E., & Maruschak, L.M. (2010). Parents in prison and their minor children. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics.]

12. Fifty-five (55.2) percent of WIC recipients are raised by single-mothers, 48.2% of all Head Start recipients are from father-absent homes, and 37% of public assistance and Section 8 housing are female-headed households.

[Source: Nock, S.L, Einolf, C.J. (2008). The one hundred billion dollar man: the annual public costs of father absence. Germantown, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative.]

Open Door Mission Men Studying on How to be an Authentic Man

Men of Bethany in America volunteer on Monday evenings following the curriculum of the 33 Series. A brotherhood of friends are created to bond in friendship to reject passivity, accepting responsibility, living courageously and living for eternity. The majority of the men attending the program have grown up in life with an absentee father or one that had been abusive. The 33 Series helps to embrace changing this cycle of past abuse, chronic addiction and alcoholism with being a better father, husband, and man. Topics of fatherhood, family, marriage and the dynamics of being a man are presented. During the past years of this program the successes of changing lives has been evident in changes in faith, goals, achievements, and families restored.

Men have continued to come regularly each Monday evening. Men have attended locally and from other states. Something special happens at the Open Door Mission.

What is the Difference ?

Men and youth have come before our teams who have been down roads less traveled than most of our friends. There stories range from success to sorrows. Their history is conflicted with stories that could make any grown man cry. Some of them have been transferred from institution to individual therapy but they have failed to get out of the circle of destruction. But what has changed in their routines that now embraces them to change to new encouragement to succeed in life? Men of Bethany in America is an organization that has been the outgrowth of a few men who deemed the necessary and missing ingredient in these mens’ lives is the lessons of the authentic manhood quest. So much of dialog is on the emphasis of what is wrong but not on how bright of future we may have with the right mind set. What started as a small group of men of Bethany brotherhood has now grown to a large number of contributors. A mentorship perspective comes from the idea of team rather than individual mentors. Each man or young adult recognizes what they have missed out on in their journey in life. Mentors are not as concerned with what they know as much as much they care. Their first steps is to approach the men is by working as a team and not exploiting with knowledge but to represent a diversity of men who have had or has different occupations , life in spirituality, marriage and seasons of life. Mentors for these men seeking a change their lives recognize what is authentic manhood through grace and forgiveness. They are not focused on the review mirror but are looking out the front windshield of life to change lives. Understanding the wounds these men have experienced through life and how the solution components of what is an authentic man requires a paradigm shift. Making progress for the future is by approaching men of Bethany mentees with a team with life experiences that each mentor have been on during their journey to authentic manhood. The motto accepted by all is for each of them to reject passivity, embrace life courageously, and accept life eternally.

So, what is the difference. Life is better approached when you don’t have to do it alone. Team brotherhood with good mentors provides a wholesome approach to men where their is a sense of positive direction and being at peace with self. Many of us walk this earth without ever having knowledge of the extent of what being an authentic man means.

Testimonies of the men who have been through the program give the best explanations of what made the difference.

Church & Culture

I have been viewing a blog regarding Church & Culture. Recently, the blog reported on the sad day of Sears Company making its move to close all of its stores. Sears was a solid staple for enjoyment for my family as I grew up. Kenmore and Craftsman were the quality product in most of our homes. Plus, I used the catalog to pick out my school clothes. It was always a special day when the packages came to our front porch with my new shirts and jeans. Of course at that age I received jeans to long, so I could grow into them. Those were the days of roll up those cuffs on the jeans.

The Sears article is a good reminder on how we must be cognizant of our surroundings and be sure to make better decisions. Throughout the bible best plans were made for the people God was talking too. I have witnessed during my lifetime to many times when we are so engrossed with the money we forget the customer. How do you build the entusiasm for our providers to experience the good?