Project Fatherhood: A Story of Courage and Healing in One of America’s Toughest Communities

Jorja Leap. Beacon, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8070-1452-3
In 2010, UCLA professor, researcher, and “gang interventionist” Leap (Jumped In) and neighborhood church elder “Big Mike” Cummings started a group in South Los Angeles (with funding from the Los Angeles Housing Authority) to teach men to become good fathers. Project Fatherhood consisted of felons, gangbangers, drug users and dealers, and ex-cons—most of whom grew up fatherless—and met weekly at Jordan Downs, one of the city’s worst public housing projects. Addressing issues endemic to this disenfranchised population, Leap found that her clients were fatalists: convinced they would not live long, they had children early to ensure they would leave a legacy behind, and were emotionally unprepared for fatherhood. With a sharp ear for dialogue, Leap profiles the Project Fatherhood men candidly and compassionately, granting readers access to forthright discussions about life in and out of prison, abandonment and abuse, job creation initiatives, the Black Muslims, the police, gangs functioning as family, and daily violence. The immediacy of the setting animates the individual life stories and daily challenges of men who have lived hard but are committed to do better. Leap observes and captures, in the members’ own words, the group’s development and its members’ four years of progress toward healing their families and, perhaps, their community. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/06/2015
Release date: 06/09/2015
Compact Disc - 978-1-4945-1539-3
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-8070-7787-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-4945-6539-8
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