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New program aimed at helping local fathers become better dads

By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- Jose Camacho is one of around 25 fathers who are part of the 24/7 Dad Program at the Child Crisis Center of El Paso.

The program has only been around since late February.

"I've been learning how to treat my kids better," Camacho said.

Once a week, he spends two hours at the Child Crisis Center learning skills that he hopes will make him a better dad.

"We jumped at the chance and we were able to get the grant through the state. We got a $1.2 million grant for five years," said Russell Booth, a fatherhood effect educator.

The program centers around five main components:

- self awareness

- caring for self

- fathering skills

- parenting skills

- relationship skills

"So a lot of times it's more of a conversation that we have through the facilitators and the students. When it comes to learning how to discipline, learning about how to show love, learning about how to motivate a child," Booth said.

"There's a group of men that we all share, give little testimonies of our life as parents, how can we do better?," Camacho said.

Booth said they are able to teach men who may have not had a father figure how to be that for their own children.

"Unfortunately, a lot of men today didn't have that role. So that's why this program is so awesome," Booth said.

Booth said there are many challenges when it comes to being a dad.

"It's something that's not really taught to you. You learn it through trial and error. And that's one of the hardest parts is trying to be a good dad and not really knowing about it," Booth said.