Our founder Frank is a survivor of the gang lifestyle. Growing up he dropped out of school in the 10th grade and worked a humbling job as a dishwasher. He transformed his life through the Job Corps program where he received his High School Diploma, entered the college program, and received his BS in Psychology, and graduated in 2009 with a Master of Public Administration from the University of Utah.
It was in 2005 while working at the Salt Lake CAP Head Start as their Fatherhood Coordinator, where he began to further understand the importance of a paternal presence in the early stages of child development. This realization pushed him to start conducting research on the absence of father figures from students in the Juvenile Justice System and the adult system. It was evident in this research that in our society, the majority of youth and adults in these systems have been raised with an absent father figure. This sparked the idea to start a Fatherhood Organization to provide education to Fathers and Pathways to Manhood for boys.
Nurturing The Next Generation
In 2009, the Fathers & Families Coalition of Utah was formed with the sole purpose of providing education to fathers and males. With the Nurturing Fathers and Pathways to Manhood curriculums used, Frank reached over 500 fathers at the Salt Lake CAP Head Start location. Frank left Salt Lake CAP Head Start and began his journey with other sites in the community, many times simply meeting with an individual at a coffee shop to teach.
Filling The Knowledge Gap
While teaching Nurturing Fathers, Frank noticed how many teen fathers were in the system, and in 2012 worked with our partner, Horizonte Instruction & Training Center, to begin the Program (YPP), providing the ability to teach all genders and reaching 300 youth a year through the evidence based WiseGuys curriculum. In 2022, YPP was rebranded and is now known as the Building Uplifting Relationships (BUR) Program.
Bringing Snow to the Valley
As BUR grew, in 2016 Frank asked the youth what they would like to learn and what they needed, he was given an overwhelming response of "jobs." One year later, the Jobs Work Program (JWP) was born using the Real Employability Skills and WiseGuys curriculums, and the Good Start Snow Cone Booth to start, with classes provided at the Volunteers of America Homeless Youth Resource Center and Murray High School.
Teaching the Future
In March 2020, the Utah Afterschool Network provided Fathers & Families Coalition of Utah with an entrepreneur grant using VentureLab's curriculum, and thus, FFCU's Youth Entrepreneur Program was born. With the pandemic just beginning, FFCU Educators worked hard to virtually provide the classes using the JWP youth as a pilot program. At the end of the pilot, not only did one of our youth win first place statewide for his video pitch but many more expressed interest in learning what it means to be an entrepreneur.