CBU professor helps fathers prepare for their role
Riverside, Calif. (Aug. 7, 2020) – When couples come to Riverside Life Services, Dr. Jeffrey Gage, professor of nursing at California Baptist University, is there to offer support to the men.
Gage has volunteered for four years at the pregnancy clinic, which primarily serves lower-income clients with unintended pregnancies. He began co-teaching parenting classes to couples. During that time, he also conducted research there about the fathers’ experiences of first trimester ultrasound.
“I heard men’s personal stories about planned and unplanned pregnancy, relationships with their own fathers, spiritual beliefs, apprehensions and their goals and aspirations for the future,” Gage said. “The findings enabled me to consider how we could enhance practice to promote positive fatherhood during a vulnerable time.”
About 18 months ago, Gage started Dads4Life, a father support and mentor program. Male volunteers welcome men when they visit the clinic with their partners. Dads4Life offers support such as an online parenting course, one-to-one mentoring and monthly meetings where dads and mentors get together to discuss various topics related to fatherhood.
Pregnancy often prompts men to evaluate their readiness to become a father and their commitments to relationships, Gage said. They seek experienced fathers who are willing to invest in their lives and provide support.
“Many men have grown up without fathers or positive role models,” Gage said. “Dads4Life is designed to address these needs by giving men the opportunity to develop personal relationships with mentors who desire to earn the right to speak into their lives and share Christ’s hope and love through all circumstances. We’ve already seen some life-changing effects from men’s involvement in Dads4Life.”
This past spring Gage received the alumni Humanitarian Nursing Award from the University of Missouri, Sinclair School of Nursing. It was given for “outstanding contributions to vulnerable populations” in recognition of his community work with fathers and families in Riverside.
“It was an honor to receive the award, but also it’s recognition of the commitment of our mentors and staff at Riverside Life Services who practically and prayerfully support the program to dads as a complement to the service with women and children,” Gage said.
Gage teaches research courses in the master’s and doctoral nursing programs. He uses his research as an example to explain the process of developing research partnerships, writing research questions and choosing appropriate methodologies.
“This enables students to understand the practical considerations of research in addition to the theoretical,” Gage said.