Minneapolis MAD DADS
A Best Practice Chapter
Started in 1998, the Minneapolis Chapter of MAD DADS continues to be a shining example of how the “Omaha Model” started in Nebraska 22 years ago, still works in creating safer neighborhoods and positive alternatives for youth and young adults all over the country. VJ Smith, President of the Chapter since its inception, has guided his Chapter with excellence and in the process has received numerous awards in the Twin Cities area as well as national recognition.
Most recently in late 2010, the National Cares Mentoring Movement, headed up by former Editor of Essence Magazine Susan Taylor, chose Mr. Smith as the Chair of her Mentoring Circle when she wanted to expand into Minneapolis – a testament to the excellent leadership of the Minneapolis MAD DADS Chapter and its reputation for effective community outreach and development. The Minneapolis MAD DADS is a highly evaluated model whose myriad programs have it reaching out to the many sectors of the Twin City communities with tangible, quantifiable, outcome based services.
MAD DADS National was founded in May 1989 by a group of concerned Omaha, Nebraska African American men and parents who were fed up with gang violence and the unmolested flow of illegal drugs in their community. These men understood that they could not hold any one responsible for this but themselves, because they had allowed this to happen. They presented themselves as positive role models and concerned loving parents who were a visible presence in communities against the negative forces destroying children, families and neighborhoods.
Minneapolis MAD DADS started out after finding out about the “Omaha Model” after hearing co-founder Elder Eddie F. Staton give a presentation sponsored by Urban Ventures of Minneapolis. His presentation on MAD DADS was so powerful that VJ Smith and other Minneapolis community leaders decided that their community could benefit from MAD DADS.
So they united as a handful of community fathers and concerned men who have come to know that they must be the force behind change. They successfully replicated MAD DADS and the community has never been the same since. President VJ Smith and his Minneapolis MAD DADS emulated the best of the “Omaha Model” and molded it to the particular demands and needs of their community. This is true of any MAD DADS Chapter: local men and women responding to local problems with local solutions. Independent third party evaluators, the Mayor, Sheriff, Congressmen and above all the community all point to how Minneapolis MAD DADS has benefited their community. Learn more about his Chapter’s accomplishments at www.mplsmaddads.org