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The Children’s Advocacy Center SWFL receives $190,000 in state funding to create “Level Up Dads” A new Father Mentoring program.

FORT MYERS, Fla. (October 26th, 2023) – The Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida (CAC) has recently been awarded $190,000 in state funding for it’s Level Up Dads program. This mentoring initiative aims to strengthen the relationship between children and their father figures.
“We know that our kiddos do best when both mothers and fathers are involved in their lives. However, 1 in 4 American children still live in a home without a father figure. This program will go a long way in supporting the role of fathers in our community. We are proud to help get this program off the ground and will continue to fight for our families and children in Florida.”
Representative Jenna Persons-Mulicka
“The CAC is thankful to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida House Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka and Florida Sen. Jonathan Martin for approving $190,000 in funding for Level Up Dads program.” says CAC CEO, Julie Boudreaux “At the CAC, we continuously seek ways to empower families. By offering fathers support and education, we contribute to a stronger community.”

The inspiration for the Level Up Dads program came from John “JJ” Wheeler, CAC’s Director of Prevention, who has worked in child welfare for over a decade. Throughout his career, Wheeler encountered numerous men who desired to be more involved in their children’s lives but felt lost and lacked confidence. After examining the statistics on children from fatherless households and the challenges they face, Wheeler was motivated to develop a mentorship program.

“I knew that there had to be a way to help men become the best versions of the fathers
they hoped to be.” says JJ Wheeler.

Level Up Dads pairs fathers and father figures seeking support with experienced mentors known as “Dadvocates.” These mentors are confident and comfortable in their role as fathers and are eager to share their knowledge and support JJ says, “It is the CAC’s hope that with the Dadvocates and our organized educational and social events, we can make a significant impact in the lives of fathers, and their children.”

For more information on the Children’s Advocacy Center and how you can help to support their initiatives or to learn more about volunteering for the Level Up Dad’s program, please call 239-939-2808 or consider making a tax-deductible donation at You can also sign up for their newsletter to stay informed on other upcoming events.

About Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida

Since 1981, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida, Inc. (CAC) has worked to improve the lives of children and their families through a coordinated response to child abuse and neglect, offering them a safe and friendly environment in which to heal. CAC provides abuse determination services, pet therapy, therapeutic counseling, parenting education, advocacy, and prevention programs in Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Charlotte Counties. All services are provided free of charge. For more information, please call 239-939-2808 or visit CAC is a United Way Partner Agency.

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