Dadlab: Growing Through Shared Experiences
The Vesta Fund continues to invest in the Philadelphia community by championing DadLab, a program empowering fathers and father figures to embrace the valuable role they play in the lives of the children they are caring for. DadLab is a safe space for fathers-to-be, new fathers, and partners to share their parenting questions, concerns, and successes with each other to grow as parents together.
A program of Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, DadLab is a targeted addition to other initiatives, like CenteringPregnancy® and CenteringParenting®, designed to give parents and caregivers the tools they need to prepare for and manage all aspects of parenting. “The name ‘DadLab’ really hints at the purpose of our program,” explained DadLab Director, Dr. Jay Cherney. “Fathers experiment with how things go, they hear how other fathers are experimenting, and through that they hone in on what works best for them and their family.”
Dr. Cherney and the Vesta Fund created DadLab to provide resources to the community by augmenting fatherhood programming, a mutually valued cause. While the program’s primary focus is on fathers, sessions on co-parenting and forging strong relationships speak to the whole family unit.
Dr. Cherney, a licensed psychologist, facilitates DadLab with the help of health educator Clarence Izard. “What we’re trying to create, and what we have created, is a community,” shared Dr. Cherney. “The support from the Vesta Fund means so much to this program because it helps us do everything from running the program itself to promoting the program and encouraging new members to join.”
The Vesta Fund’s steadfast support has provided a strong foundation for DadLab to grow and expand over the past two years. Dr. Cherney and the Vesta Fund hope to see DadLab’s focus on fatherhood embraced further by the community and to continue to enhance the support offered to those fathers and father figures as they establish their role in the lives of their children.
“People have more joy in parenting, and they get more out of it when they’re part of DadLab,” Dr. Cherney said. “It’s personal growth for the parents and caregivers as they learn to adapt to this new responsibility, and we help them manage the pressure to feel more confident about themselves as parents.”
DadLab has been able to make a meaningful impact on the lives of many families in the Philadelphia area due to the generosity of the Vesta Fund. Participants have remained active in the DadLab community through virtual meetings held every Thursday.