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Rising Above – Fatherhood Initiative Program

The Rising Above (formerly called Rising Tide) program was established in 1996 under the Urban League of Greater Cleveland. The program's credo is "a rising tide lifts all ships," meaning that making a positive impact on one individual can ultimately benefit to those around that person. Rising Above was founded to assist incarcerated fathers in learning to accept and fulfill their parental responsibilities. It helped fathers with a range of issues from preparing for the job market, addressing child support issues and gaining employment upon release from prison.

In 2005, The Rising Above Program partnered with the Cuyahoga County Fatherhood Initiative Office   and modified its target population to include any father in Greater Cleveland, Ohio but the program model remained the same. One year later, Maurice Stevens became program director and infused a more intensified workforce development perspective into the program content.

Here is an article from News Channel 5, which speaks of the support and skills this program has developed.

Additionally, take a look at this article from Crain's Cleveland Business.

Deliverables and Target Population

The Rising Above program model is designed to assist fathers with enhancing their employability skills and becoming self sufficient so that they may strengthen their relationships with their children and family. The following are measureable objectives:

  • enhanced employability skills;
  • decreased involvement in the child welfare system; and
  • increased use of non-violent conflict management techniques to solve family-specific problems.
  • Increased involvement between fathers and their children

To be eligible to participate in Rising Above, a man must:

  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • be a father of a minor child;
  • have completed high school or received a GED; and
  • Must be a resident of Cuyahoga County

Rising Above targets fathers with the following characteristics, although these fathers may also have other characteristics that lead to vulnerability in parenting.

  • Incomes below the federal poverty level and/or at low income status.
  • Recent or long-term lack of employment.
  • Limited interaction with their children either due to or independent of an existing court/protection order.
  • Interest in improving, strengthening or developing a relationship with one or more of their children
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