The Down to Earth Dad®

“The National Dads Matter!™ Project is Customized and Localized for Programs, Families, and Schools Across America”

“...Many programs throughout the nation use the Dads Matter!™ Project to enhance and celebrate father involvement...

 The National Dads Matter!™ Project, made available by The Down To Earth Dad, LLC, is a tried, tested, and proven father involvement and recruitment resource that is used by numerous statewide, regional, and local programs and schools to beef up father involvement in a tasteful, visible, productive way that involves FAMILIES and community partners.

 Head Start Is A Great Example...

Several head Start and Early Head Start programs utilize localized, customized versions of the National Dads Matter!™ Project for father involvement and recruitment.


"I am overjoyed with what I am receiving.  My families here, with that first article, they were just blown away.  They were just totally floored.  I am happy.  Ecstatic!  It has done wonders.  Since the newsletter came out, I did have an increase in my male involvement.  I have to attribute this to the Dads Matter Project.  I'm getting more and more hits at our Head Start website too.  You have made my year because it has been such a struggle to get this (male involvement) program off the ground."


— Ranzer Turner, Director

Lake Community Action Agency Head Start, Florida

This is a turn-key, ready-to-roll interactive, informational resource for your statewide, regional, or local child-and-family serving program, organization, school, tribe, or community.  Many Head Start programs renew their annual subscription to the National Dads Matter!™ Project year after year.  (Scroll Down To See More...)




About The Project

How The Project Works

The Project Philosophy

Startup Requirements

Features and Benefits


Printing And Distribution

Sample Web Page


Let The Experts Help You

Spanish Translations

Getting Started

About The Project

An Innovative Resource...

The Dads Matter!™ Project is an EASY TO IMPLEMENT resource helping men become more directly involved in their children's lives.  The Project also helps program staff reach out to fathers and families with the message that father involvement matters.  Children benefit from implementation of the Dads Matter!™ Project because the project makes father involvement an ongoing commitment and thereby commits good men to interacting more meaningfully in their lives.

You are guided every step of the way by Patrick Mitchell who presented the Dads Matter!™ Project to Head Start directors, staff, and parents from 49 states and several U.S. Territories at the National Head Start Institute on Father Involvement in Dallas, Texas, in June 2004, as the special guest of the Head Start Bureau in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Mitchell is Chief Facilitator of the  Dads Matter!™ Project, facilitating the successful implementation of the Project for numerous Head Start and Child Care programs.

The Dads Matter!™ Project gives your parents, staff, and community partners vital knowledge (and skills) needed to support the ongoing involvement of fathers in Head Start children's lives. 

Spotlights Your Dads...

The Dads Matter!™ Project highlights the Dads themselves -- YOUR Dads -- putting them in the spotlight and showcasing their thoughts, challenges, and triumphs.  The Project also makes fathers aware of relevant programs, services, and resources that your program and/or your community partners have to offer families.  The Dads Matter!™ Project supports your current male involvement efforts and improves and sustains father involvement in your program. 

Tried & Tested...

The Dads Matter!™ Project is a tested and refined turn-key resource highlighting the important role fathers play in their children's lives.  The Project is easy to implement and operate; it's ready-to-go and directly involves your Dads and families right from the start.  This is a fatherhood strategy that really works

The Dads Matter!™ Project has been piloted and refined for five years at various Head Start and child-and-family serving programs and centers throughout the country.  The Project has been an overwhelming success among Dads and Moms connected to Head Start programs where Dads of children connected to that programs have shared their personal stories about the challenges, triumphs, failures, and joys of raising a young child, and in so doing, have reached out to other such fathers. 

Success Stories...

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Head Start program is a great example of the Project in action, were 400 fathers and families in the Great Sioux Nation connected to the Standing Rock Head Start Program in North Dakota directly participated in the Dads Matter!™ Project.  Philadelphia Housing Authority Head Start chose to serve 242 Pennsylvania families with the Project.  First Steps Early Head Start in Canyon City, Colorado has also implemented the Dads Matter!™ Project for its families and community partners, and Pueblo of Isleta Head Start and Child Care in New Mexico has renewed the Project for three years in a row, and continues to serve its parents, families, and community partners with the Project.  There are many other Head Start and Child Care programs utilizing the Dads Matter!™ Project to meet their unique outreach, parent education, recruitment, and other father involvement needs.  The Project is customizable to each individual program and to that program's unique population of families.

How The Project Works

The Dads Matter!™ Project is easy to implement and operate -- it's virtually ready-to-go and directly involves your dads (and grandpas, if you like!) right from the start.  The Dads Matter!™ Project leverages an existing resource known as The Down To Earth Dad monthly newsletter, currently in its sixth year of publication.  (See a sample issue of The Down To Earth Dad below).

The Down To Earth Dad newsletter is made available to your families, staff, and community partners along with a customized, localized monthly publication customized specifically to YOUR Head Start program, called Dads Matter!™ (See a sample issue the Dads Matter!™ publication below).


The Dads Matter!™ publication is highly customized and specifically tailored to YOUR specific population of fathers and families. Professional journalists and editors from The Down To Earth Dad, LLC, based in Couer d'Alene, Idaho, interview your dads by telephone and create original feature articles spotlighting your fathers each month. These articles are then featured in your localized Dads Matter!™ publication in tandem with The Down To Earth Dad newsletter. 

The two publications together -- The Down To Earth Dad and Dads Matter!™ -- provide a powerful one-two punch of vital information in the "Big Picture" of father involvement (facts, research, articles based on interviews with experts), and father involvement in the "Local Picture" (articles featuring interviews with YOUR dads connected to YOUR program.)

The Project Philosophy

Dads Need Access To Other Dads...

Moms matter supremely.  Children need their mothers like fish need water.  Without moms we'd be sunk! But children need Dads, too, and Dads need access to good information in order to be the best parents they can be.  Vital information, programs, services, and resources are often underutilized because fathers often are not informed of the existence of the programs and services, and/or they do not always feel welcome to participate.

In a study of 3500 Early Head Start teaching staff and fathers, 96% of teachers felt they had invited fathers to become involved in a specific event happening at their center, but only 43% of the fathers believed they had been invited.  Fathers need extra encouragement and highly specific information in order to engage fully in their child's preschool experience.  The Dads Matter!™ Project helps fathers become more directly engaged.

Fathers of Head Start children need access to resources, including other fathers of Head Start children from whom they can gather vital information, and with whom they can share common experiences.  A father who is well informed and has a network of support available to him is able to positively impact the future of his family.  Your fathers will benefit from having a unique forum of their own; specifically, the forum the Dads Matter!™ Project provides.  By the way, moms like reading about what the Dads have to say! 

Brings Fathers Together...

Fathers are often needlessly isolated from one another and do not typically share activities, their stories, joys, frustrations, and triumphs in parenting their Head Start child.  And yet, they have much in common and much to offer each other.  Men who are parents are too often the silent keepers of a wealth of unique knowledge and support that can be shared via this project.

Men who are parents share a common experience; namely, striving to be the best Dads they can be for their children.  Fathers of Head Start children share unique experiences that can, and should be shared whenever possible.  Public interest in fostering fathers' involvement is increasing because of the recognized benefits of fathers' contributions to their families.  However, some fathers feel they are simply unwelcome and inadequate as parents (Batten & Stowell, 1996; Knitzer & Bernard, 1997).  Part of the solution lies within our Head Start programs specifically, and with social programs generally, but this is only part of the answer.  Parents need to step up to the plate and help create their own innovative support programs to better facilitate their own involvement in their children's Head Start experience.  Dads, specifically, need to step forward and participate.  The Dads Matter!™ Project is a sturdy platform Dads can step up onto in order to see what's going on and more fully participate.  

The Dads Matter!™ Project for Head Start families and community partners helps fathers become more directly involved in building their own network of support and encouragement in a manner that allows for closer communication between fathers and families, and furthermore, among fathers, families, Head Start, and your community partners.

Resource Awareness Needed...

Parents of Head Start children aren't always aware of the resources available to them in their community.  That's where the monthly Calendar of Events (specific to father-friendly events) fits into the Dads Matter!™ insert that we customize for you each month.  In addition to featuring/highlighting your Dads every month, a key purpose of The Dads Matter!™ Project is to provide information and resources-including the valuable human resource manifest in the real-life experiences of other fathers of Head Start children, and to elevate the important role that fathers play when they're actively engaged in their children's lives.

Celebrates Fatherhood...

The Dads Matter!™ Project celebrates fatherhood and encourages fathers of Head Start children to get involved and stay involved in their children's lives. This is accomplished by showcasing individual Dads' stories about parenting their Head Start child in monthly feature articles based on exclusive interviews with fathers conducted by The Down To Earth Dad editorial team, and the subsequent publishing of feature stories based on those interviews in your own local version of the Dads Matter!™ publication. 

The Project is a tool that helps Dads get actively involved in their children's Head Start experience and in obtaining information about programs, services, and resources in their state and community.

Startup Requirements

You Only Need Four Things To Get Started...

1. Families -- Moms and Dads who have Head Start children are the target recipients/audience of the Dads Matter!™ Project newsletter-and-insert combination.  A minimum of 100 families and/or community partners are needed to do the Project; however, there is no maximum number of families that can be served.  (The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Head Start program, for example, chose to serve 400 families with the Dads Matter!™ Project.  Dads were lining up to be interviewed, and all Head Start families in the Tribe directly participated in the Project.)  

2. Dads To Interview Each Month -- You must have fathers of Head Start children who are willing to be interviewed and featured in the main article appearing in the customized Dads Matter!™ insert each month.  These men are EASY to find, as everyone loves the idea of having their "Fifteen Minutes of Fame," so to speak.  The truth is, fathers, grandfathers, and uncles love being interviewed!  For many fathers, having the spotlight on them and their personal experiences relative to raising a preschool child is a wonderful experience.  The interviews are conducted by telephone, and they may call a Toll Free number to be interviewed by The Down To Earth Dad editorial team.  Our team of professional journalists and editors interviews these men for you every month!  

3. Community Partners -- Your friends:  hospitals, schools, social service agencies, physicians, child-and-family advocacy programs, counselors, funding sources, programs that partner with you on special projects, and others.  The idea is to share a few issues of the newsletter-and-insert with those who can share information about programs, services, and resources by way of the Project.  For example, if you are promoting a Dads Reading To Children Night on, say, the third Thursday of each month, or a Lunch For Dads At Head Start event every other Tuesday, your community partners can help you promote the event when they read about it in your Dads Matter! insert to The Down To Earth Dad monthly newsletter as part of the Dads Matter!™ Project

4. Project Coordinator -- A volunteer dad, mom, or paid staff person is needed to communicate with The Down To Earth Dad editorial team monthly to coordinate interviews of the fathers of Head Start children connected to your program.  The coordinator also helps distribute the newsletter-and-insert combination each month.  (Many programs simply make them available for Moms and Dads to pick up at the Center; others mail them out to all the families).  The Coordinator does not have to interview anyone or do any writing whatsoever, but she/he may be asked to contribute a small amount of Calendar of Events information for the monthly Dads Matter!™ publication so that fathers and families have the benefit of seeing what's happening locally at your Head Start program and in the community.

     Features And Benefits

Top 10 Reasons to get the Dads Matter!™ Project for Your Program

In addition to the benefits of quick start up, ease of implementation and maintenance, and utility as a sounding board to tell your community what you're doing, here are additional reasons to get the project for your Head Start program:

1.                    The Project Is Meaningful and Important

By implementing the Dads Matter!™ Project, you are affirming that your Head Start program involves fathers.  This will be much appreciated by the fathers connected to the children in your program, and they will show their gratitude by participating.  Providing opportunities for your children to have their fathers more involved in their early lives is a great gift indeed; it is a gift from the heart.

The Dads Matter! ProjectT is a tool you can use to reach out to Head Start families with a tangible resource to help them ensure that their child gets significant father involvement/male involvement in their early education and life.  By implementing this simple project, you are establishing your program as uniquely dedicated to enhancing children's preschool experience.

Children love their mothers and their fathers, and thoughtful parents realize that in today's world, creating special occasions for Dads to be more involved-at school and at home-is supremely important to their child's cognitive, social, and emotional well being.  Fathers long to provide all the good things they can to their children.  But sometimes, work and other obligations keep dads from making the kinds of contributions they want to make.  You can help men get more involved at school, and at home, via this project-for the sake of the children you care for, and for the sake of your school's growth and prosperity.

2.         Harnesses the Energy of Father Involvement

Father Involvement is a hot topic in America right now, as the benefits of that involvement become more widely known in the wake of two decades of intensive research. Your program has, without a doubt, strived to get fathers involved and keep them involved.  You can continue to harness the energy of father involvement, and focus it on YOUR program with the expectation of positive results for your program, and for the children you serve. 

A famous study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 1999), revealed that children do better in school and enjoy school more when their fathers are highly involved in their child's school.  Head Start is the first "school-like" experience many children have.  The Dads Matter! ProjectT leverages the reality that kids do better when Dads are involved, and gets their Dads involved early.

3.         Creates News (And Gets Your School Some Media Coverage)

Father involvement events are exciting and inviting, especially to the news media. They're always looking for photo-ops, and they react to the prospect of a catchy story.  Father involvement is still rather novel, and by leveraging the "Calendar of Events" component of the Dads Matter! ProjectT, you'll keep your local news media in the loop about what your program is doing, and you'll invariably get them to attend one of your events during the year because of the fact that the Dads Matter! ProjectT gives you a promotional vehicle to announce your events.  This means greater publicity for your program, which plays into maintaining and enhancing your positive image. (HINT: Give the monthly Dads Matter!™ publication to your local news media so they'll see what you're doing.) 

4.         The "I Know That Guy!" Factor

The best way to spread good news and get people more involved is to show them someone they know who is involved.  The Dads Matter!™ Project does this well.  By featuring your Head Start Dads and Grandpas via this project, and by creatively making the elements of the project available to families outside of your current population of enrolled families (a.k.a. a few copies to your community partners), men connected to your program and community will invariably recognize each other-by name, by face, or both-and your program will benefit by this positive association of their relationship with, or recognition of, this other man.

5.         Raises the Bar for Parent Participation

A growing body of research shows that when early childhood education programs, including Head Start, state their expectations for father involvement right from the start, during intake/enrollment, dads participate more during the school year.  By utilizing the Dads Matter!™ Project -- a plug-and-play father involvement resource that demonstrably involves fathers in their child's school-you are effectively "raising the bar" for father participation and you're implicitly setting a high standard for father involvement at your school.  This, in turn, means you'll have fathers who feel involved.  You will have no shortage of dads to help anytime you need them to get something done.  This project gets dads involved, plain and simple.

6.         Promotes Your Events

A short Calendar of Events component is included each month, and you can use this space to promote what's going on at your Head Start center.  Invariably, friends of your current parents will find out about your special events because of the calendar of events section, and some of these parents will attend your special events.  The media might show up, too. (HINT: Be sure and send a copy of the Dads Matter!™ publication to your community partners and the news media.  This way, everyone will know what you're doing.)

7.         Promotes Your Program

Successful programs need a constant influx of new families coming through the door and calling on the phone in order to maintain a healthy program.  This project effectively "sells" your Head Start program as a valuable place for children to be.  Not all families qualify, but doing something exciting like implementing this project, keeps the excitement in the air, locally, for being in your Head Start program.

Dads On The Wall:  You can showcase the articles featuring your dads (the monthly Dads Matter!™ publication) on a wall at the Head Start center, perhaps in the entry area of your building.  Over the course of the school year you can amass and display numerous Dad-oriented feature articles appearing in the Dads Matter!™ publication.  These can be normal-sized 8 x 11" pages, or blown-up 11" x 17" pages for easier readability from afar.

8.         Generates a Re-Usable Resource 

You'll end up with 12 personalized, customized articles all featuring the parents of your preschool students, and all referring to your school.  These "living articles" can be displayed, almost indefinitely, at your school for years to come-as flyers or posters on the wall, showing everyone your Head Start program is truly father-friendly.  To put it another way, the articles generated by the Dads Matter!™ Project become a re-usable resource that you can use in many ways now, and in the future.

9.         Easy To Implement

This is a turn-key, ready-to-go project, and we take care of the main details on our end.  All you do is provide the names of the fathers to interview each month and communicate with us, and the program practically runs itself. Say the word, "Go," and The Down To Earth Dad, LLC team of professional father involvement writers and editors will interview the first dad, and we're up and running!

10.      This Is an Exciting Project!

Numerous Head Start programs throughout the country have implemented the Dads Matter! Project, and many of those programs have renewed the Project for a second or third year in a row.  By getting this project rolling for your children, families, program, and community, you are making an important investment in your future -- an investment in fathers, and in your own vision that fathers can become, and remain, significantly involved in their children's lives. 

Fathers say amazing, positive, unexpected things when you ask them to tell you what it's like being the Dad of a Head Start child.  This project asks that question, over and over, 12 times a year to 12 different fathers connected to your program.  The insights gained are tremendous, and the rewards of doing this project, for everyone involved, are many.  To put it simply, this is an exciting project!


  "I would like to thank you for providing our program with the opportunity to be part of this father friendly project. Since we began the Dads Matter! Project, not only has our father participation, but also all male involvement participation increased 15%.  Fifteen percent may not be very much to some programs, but for Isleta Head Start, which had no male involvement in the past, we see this as the beginning to a great success in reaching our goal to get fathers, uncles and grandfathers involved with their children.... Since implementing the Dads Matter Project we have begun having fathers volunteer their time to read stories to their child's classmates, join in hands-on activities in the classroom, assemble furniture for our center, and our fathers have been asking about starting another fatherhood program to discuss parenting from a father's perspective. The roster for participants is almost to full capacity! 

...I believe the distribution of The Down To Earth Dad and Isleta Dads Matter! has a great deal to do with the increase because the articles focus on the father outlook.... It gives great pride to our community to see how involved and beneficial father and child time is. So once again, thank you Patrick for including Isleta Head Start & Child Care families in the Dads Matter Project!  We hope to continue the Dads Matter project for years to come."

Jacqueline Yalch, Social Service and Behavioral Health Case Manager, Pueblo of Isleta Head Start.  

     "In five years of doing the holiday party, this is the first time I've seen dads get up, go across the room, and introduce themselves.  I have nothing else to attribute that to other than that they're reading about each other (in the Dads Matter!™ publication) and feeling like, 'Wow, I'm not the only one.' I also think the emotional content of the newsletters has gotten a little more intense and the dads are willing to share more.  It's more personalized; it's not just stories about their children anymore, but their own stories now too...

...This project encourages interpersonal support and gets people together."  

  Tami Walters, Executive Director, Mighty Oaks Child Therapy Center, Albany, Oregon  

 "It's (Dads Matter! Project) very cost-effective, it's good service, and you're using a very efficient way of bringing people in and kind of empowering them to be part of the whole process. It recognizes that the fathers themselves have something to say and invites them to help. It's very unique. This project highlights the needs of fathers and helps create a support system for them."

Cynthia Thompson, Executive Director, Children's Trust Fund of Oregon

Printing And Distribution

1.         Your Parents and Staff Have Access

Clickable "thumbnail" images of your Dads Matter!™ publication and The Down To Earth Dad  newsletter will be available to your parents, staff, and visitors.  They can view and/or print copies from their personal computers at work or home.  These clickable thumbnail images will open up into ".pdf" files, which are viewable and printable, whenever your visitors click on them.

Click HERE to see a Sample Web Page showing how your families, staff, and community partners can access the publications associated with the Dads Matter!™ Project

2.     Make As Many Copies as You Need

In addition to providing your parents with viewable/printable access to The Down To Earth Dad monthly newsletter and the Dads Matter!™ publication, you may print as many issues of the Dads Matter!™ publication as you like.  In addition, you may print a quantity of The Down To Earth Dad newsletter not exceeding two times the enrollment of your school.

For Example:  If your school has an enrollment of 100 students in a given month, you can print and circulate/distribute as many issues of the Dads Matter!™ publication featuring your dads as you like, and up to 200 current issues of The Down To Earth Dad newsletter per month.

Let The Experts Help You

(Every Step of the Way)...

Patrick Mitchell, founding editor and publisher of The Down To Earth Dad monthly newsletter, is an experienced publisher, editor, and male involvement expert who has keynoted numerous national and state conferences including special events for the Child Care Bureau in Washington, D.C., and the Head Start Bureau.  Mr. Mitchell has helped numerous Head Start program teachers, staff, and parents get good men involved in children's lives over the course of the past five years.

Let his editorial team of professionals help you every step of the way in this unique project.  Your monthly Dads Matter!™ publication will be unique to your program and will provide fantastic male involvement outreach and parent education to your families and in your community.  This is a simple project to implement, especially if you invite Patrick Mitchell and his team of professionals to do most of the work.

Spanish Translations

A SPANISH TRANSLATION of The Down To Earth Dad monthly newsletter can appear on the customized, localized web page that we create for your program if you serve a large Spanish-speaking population.  See a sample of such translations for a Head Start program utilizing the Dads Matter!™ Project by going to the following website: Note: Although The Down To Earth Dad newsletter is translated to Spanish, the monthly articles featuring YOUR dads, grandpas, and uncles, are not automatically translated each month.  Together, we will need to work out a plan to translate the articles featuring your individual men on a monthly basis.)


There are several ways to participate in the Dads Matter!™ Project, and there are a few cost options to choose from, depending on the nature of your program, the intended recipients for the primary deliverables associated with the project, and the geographic area to be served.

The most common way that programs participate in the Dads Matter!™ Project is to have "hard copies" of The Down To Earth Dad newsletter delivered to your program or school monthly, via First Class mail, or via camera-ready "copy" for reproduction.  The Down To Earth Dad newsletter is then circulated/distributed by you, to your families and community partners along with the customized, localized Dads Matter!™ supplement that is customized and localized just for your program and features YOUR dads and grandfathers exclusively.

Cost varies depending on how the project is implemented, and the number of project features utilized. Cost quotes available upon request.

Getting Started...

To get started, pick the cost option (above) that best suits your needs and budget, and contact Patrick Mitchell by phone at 1-877-282-DADS, or by email at