Venango Fatherhood Initiative (VFI) was formed in 1998 as a volunteer effort. VFI’s goal is to improve the lives of children in Venango County by increasing the number of children growing up with involved, responsible, and dedicated fathers.
VFI will provide support, counseling, education, and advocacy to help strengthen the bonds between fathers and their families. Fathers are encouraged to become positive role models, willing to provide the loving leadership and guidance necessary to nurture their children.
Through a variety of workshops and programs, VFI endeavors to provide fathers with the skills and knowledge they need to strengthen their relationships with their children and their families, thereby improving their communities.
VFI operates under a contract with Venango County Children, Youth & Family Services.
For additional information or to schedule an informational presentation, contact the program director at 814-676-9940.
Programs and services offered by VFI:
An 8-week workshop open to fathers, mothers, and couples, focusing on the five concepts that cover the essential knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices that they need to be the best parents they can be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Participants discuss the joys and concerns of raising children and learn and share new parenting tips and techniques with other parents in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. A certificate of completion will be given to the successful graduates of the workshop.
Topics covered include:
- Effective/appropriate discipline
- How to build and maintain healthy relationships
- How to communicate effectively
- About family roles
- The importance of involved, responsible fathers
This 8-session course focuses on processing the underlying reasons for anger, how to be aware of when it is rising to the surface, as well as coping and solution skills in dealing with it.
These sessions run from 30-60 minutes and focus on how to apply skills learned in the other programs, as well as real time advice and perspective challenging conversation to help deal with current issues. This is more focused on how to apply the information previously learned rather than theory and outlook-based approaches.
Inside Out Dad
This 8-week workshop is held in the Venango County Prison. The program assists fathers to rebuild and/or maintain family ties during incarceration and prepares fathers to reintegrate into their families upon release. Fathers learn how to communicate with their children while they are in jail, how to make healthy decisions and improvements in their lives, and how to plan for their future release.
Donuts With Dad
These events are held in Venango County elementary schools so that dads (or other father figures) can spend a little extra time with their child(ren) and to become more involved in their child’s schooling.
Relationship Smarts Plus 3.0
This lively 12-lesson evidence-based relationship skills curriculum is for teenagers age 13-18 years old. It appeals to teenagers’ aspirations and empowers them with skills needed to form and maintain healthy relationships, make wise sexual choices, and work toward their goals.
Families in Recovery
This 8-week course is mainly reserved for individuals in treatment centers that are part of long-term programs. It focuses on those that are parents as well as those that are currently dealing with recovery from their addictions(s). The course begins by addressing themselves first, exploring their history and progresses to build hope, insight, empathy, accountability, responsibility, and impulse control. The overall goal is for a person to own their past, understand it, heal and grow from it into a person that they would be proud of their children seeing. The final task is healthy role modeling despite harsh pasts.
Other events offered by Venango Fatherhood Initiative throughout the year:
- Calendar featuring children’s artwork
- Fun With Father Day
- Family Fishing Day
- Soapbox Derby – typically held in July, one derby in Oil City and another in Rocky Grove