Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
Fatherhood is a precious gift with amazing responsibilities. Dads are always role models, good or bad, like it or not. We cannot escape the impressionable vision of our children and hopeful, loving gaze from our wives. Fortunately, I figured this out before it was too late. My faithful wife helped me realize the kind of impact I had on my children; they saw all my actions when I hoped I was invisible. Fortunately, it is never too late for redemption.
I changed course and committed to be the Father my family deserved. Now, I am focused on rewarding my wife’s loyalty and developing my children into fine young adults. This comes through putting them first and modeling servant leadership. I need to be what I want them to become, and when I fall short, I quickly come and ask for forgiveness.
I started attending All Pro Dad breakfasts with my son, Ryan. All Pro Dads program is a program of Family First that helps equip men to become better fathers. I loved these breakfasts where we shared stories and dreams. I loved the program so much as I started another chapter at my daughter’s school where, within 3 months, we had over 200 people attending. At these meetings, I saw many other Dads having intimate and sometimes tearful, conversations with their children. Building on the success of this program, I asked the All Pro Dad Director, Darrin Gray how I could help them do more and he encouraged me to consider how translate their program into prisons.
In January 2010, we were allowed by the leadership of the Indiana DOC All Pro Dads materials in the prison to help strengthen fathers while building character. Within weeks, I joined an existing Quiet Strength Bible Study and started my own Uncommon Bible Study in the Prison. I started mentoring men in these facilities. They didn’t know it, but they were also mentoring me.
I met men that were no different than I; they just lacked Father figures and men of integrity in their lives. This has driven me to circle back around to the All Pro Dad organizations where I began to find other men like me who can serve as mentors to struggling fathers and children. I am working with local judges and organizations to catch these families before they make disastrous choices. Amazingly, the men I have met in jail and prison have a great desire to train these mentors and assist these families avoid the choices they made. This can be duplicated anywhere by people looking to strengthen their families and those around them.
Al Plummer volunteers for All Pro Dads in Noblesville, IN, mentors men in local jails and prisons, serves on the Youth Football League Board, Jehoshua House Community Council Board for Re-entry Programs, and was recently ordained as an Elder in his church.