ALBION — Chain O' Lakes Correctional Facility was filled with the sound of children’s laughter as 12 offenders from the facility graduated from the InsideOut Dad program.

More than 40 family members attended, including children of the graduates, to share the joy and have a little fun with dad.

Age appropriate games such as musical chairs, pool, ping pong, and corn hole were available to allow the fathers to interact with their children outside in the beautiful Chain O' Lakes State Park.

Pizza, cupcakes, and ice cream were provided for the graduating fathers and their families. The remainder of the evening was dedicated to the fathers visiting and spending time with their children.

Superintendent Kathy Griffin said seeing the children and dad interacting was very touching. “I enjoy these types of activities it puts a senses of normalcy in both lives of the dads and the children,” she said. Griffin plans on making this a regular graduation event.

The InsideOut Dad program focuses on bridging the gap between incarcerated fathers and their children while the father is still incarcerated, and to increase the proportion of growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.

The12-week, evidence-based program teaches inmate residents new communication skills and gives them the perspective of other fathers who are facing similar challenges.

InsideOut Dad was designed by the National Fatherhood Initiative, founded in 1994 to confront the most consequential social problem of widespread father absence in the lives of the nation’s children.

A recent independent study by Rutgers University revealed that the InsideOut Dad curriculum as provided by the NFI proves effective in building fathers’ knowledge and confidence in being fathers, even while incarcerated, according to an NFI press release.

Chain O’ Lakes Correctional Facility is a minimum security work camp facility whose population is charged with aiding local community, state and nonprofit organizations.

© 2020 KPC Media Group, Inc.