A Bronx-based support organization for fathers traveled to Antigua last weekend to provide young men and fathers with first responder skills. The fatherhood program Deeds Driven Dads, held the training session titled, “Responsible Fatherhood and Emergency Response Training” on the island on June 23.
The program was a collaboration between the organization, the Ministry for Social Transformation, and the American University of Antigua [auame
“The trip was incredible — the moment we got there, we started training young fathers and it was highly successful,” said Coach Stevan Lynn.
At the session, instructors showed participants how to perform basic first responder techniques in the event of a natural disaster, such as performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the swimming methods one can employ with rising waters.
Lynn started his Deeds Driven Dads program years ago to help provide support for young, single, or expectant fathers. His workshops train and teach vital parenting skills to young fathers, and the responsible skills they must be capable that prepare them for fatherhood. Realizing that over the years a lot of men attending his classes are mostly of Caribbean background, he wanted to initiate it to the broader Caribbean community, and one of those ways was developing a course on emergency response, Lynn added.
“We were already doing fatherhood programs here in the states, and a lot of our team members are from the islands — so it was a natural fit for us to extend this to the Caribbean,” he said.
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Lynn says he and his team initiated their first emergency response program, but felt they needed to develop one specifically for young men in these vulnerable areas.
“We were already doing the class in Haiti, Antigua, and other countries in the Caribbean after the storm season, but then I thought that now is the time to bring it to the fathers there because a lot of fathers weren’t ready for another storm and were eager to get more training,” said Lynn.
About a dozen participants were part of the class, and actively engaged in the instructional demonstrations. Lynn says the interest the young men showed in the training session, is his overall goal in giving fathers a guide on navigating fatherhood and equipping them with the valuable skills to carry it out.
“A lot of fathers just want to participate in fatherhood but don’t have an idea because they didn’t have a father in their life,” he said.
“But I want to show them that it can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.”
Lynn says developing life-saving capabilities helps bring men closer to their families, and prepares them to protect in a worst-case scenarios. He adds that the session inspired him, and showed him how necessary his program is.
“It was life-changing and eye-opening,” said Lynn. “Men who didn’t have fathers but have children are so eager for these types of things. We help train them, but we also help them create a bond.”