Group gives dads ‘vision’ to support

Roderick Milton was a special case for Visions of Manhood, Inc.

Two years ago, after a customer gave a testimony in Gilliams Barbershop about the goodness of Visions of manhood, Milton sought help for himself from the organization.

He was a non-custodial parent who wanted to initiate child support payments for his now three-year-old daughter, Kyra.

Visions, a seven-year-old organization, assists about 60 men a year in conjunction with Gov. Jeb Bush’s community anti-drug assistance program.

“The goal is to put the male back into the family,” said Visions Executive Director Joe Thomas. “We want to teach them how to be responsible young men.”

Most of the men in the organization are non custodial parents who do not have legal custody and have been or are about to be incarcerated for not paying child support.

“It (the organization) helped me understand the court system,” Milton said. “They helped me maneuver through the court system.”

Milton learned that usually the custodial parent has to solicit the court for child support.

It is quite difficult for the case to be heard in court otherwise.

Visions, which is not a legal service, mentors fathers not in compliance with their child support, executive assistant Rachel Oliver said.

Visions also focuses on the total physical and emotional health of men, by offering free counseling in parenting, anger management, conflict resolution, substance abuse, mental and physical health through classes and individual consultations as well as provides civil child support and employment assistance.

Milton attended the 13-week nurturing fathers program and the six-week child support program.

“It gave me clarity and understanding on fatherhood,” Milton said. “It gives us a great outlook on how fatherhood should be.”

Visions, a contributions and grant funded program, also extends into the community, mentoring about 4,000 kids yearly in Leon and surrounding counties.