Middle School Curriculum

The Dads Make a Difference ® (DMAD) middle school curriculum is a positive youth development, pregnancy prevention, paternity education program in which male and female high school teens trained as peer educators teach middle school-age youth about the importance of fathers in children’s lives, about the responsibilities of being a parent, including legal responsibilities, and about the importance of making responsible choices about risky behavior so as not to become a parent too soon.


Building Youth Capacities for Healthy Futures and Responsible Parenthood

Dads Make a Difference (DMAD) is a statewide nonprofit whose mission is to promote the positive involvement of fathers and to educate youth about responsible parenting.  DMAD works to strengthen the role of fathers using a peer education, youth development, and leadership model.  We help youth understand the positive impact involved fathers have on their families and the significance of being financially and emotionally prepared for children as an important component in raising children in a safe, stable, and healthy family environment.

The social context for this work is varied.  Youth are bombarded daily with messages about sex from multiple media sources, while the messages of comprehensive sexuality education our youth so desperately need remain mired in political controversy.  Two of the major causes of children living in poverty are too-early parenting and absentee fathers.  Research shows that a family headed by a teen mother will likely have reduced educational attainment, reduced income, and increased reliance on public resources.  Research also shows that children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.  Preparing young people to become caring, competent parents may be the single most effective way to prevent child abuse and other violence, increase mental health, advance school preparedness, and achieve academic success for future generations.

     DMAD builds the capacity of trained teen peer educators in local communities to focus the attention of youth on the personal, economic, and social impact of the decisions they make before becoming a parent.  DMAD helps youth develop attitudes, behaviors, and skills vital to their social and emotional well-being and provides youth with knowledge and resources necessary for them to thrive and make successful transitions to adulthood and future parenthood.  DMAD strives for the conscious application of positive youth development principles that value diversity and enhance the self-esteem and confidence of youth.  DMAD provides important protective factors for youth including connections with caring adults, a way to develop their talents, honest and respectfully presented information, the opportunity to look at life planning, development of skills useful in a variety of life arenas, connection with an engaged community of young people, the chance to be a role model for younger youth, and a safe environment in which to learn and explore new concepts.


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