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'Every Man Counts' helps Wilmington dads overcome challenges

Destiny Grimes, sophomore at Middletown High School
A dad and daughter talk at Every Man Counts' recent annual Daddy-Daughter Tea Party

Many fathers in Wilmington have a hard time staying involved in their children’s lives, especially if they’re incarcerated.

Ajawavi Ajavon started an initiative in 2014 to help single and re-entry dads with parenting skills.





The owner of a family mediation consultancy near Trolley Square got the idea for Every Man Counts while earning her Master’s Degree at Wilmington University.

“With my research I found that Wilmington has a higher rate of children living in the homes without their male parent, due to, one, incarceration, or just abandonment,” she said. “And the incarceration percentages was higher than abandonment, so I started focusing on that."

Every Man Counts offers free workshops covering everything from infant care and cooking healthy meals on a budget to braiding hair and navigating family court.

Every Man Counts' most popular event is a free, annual fishing and water sports trip which gives dads and children a full day to bond.

Credit Destiny Grimes, sophomore at Middletown High School

Ajavon says she knows where a lot of the parents she works with are coming from.

“I’ve been homeless. I’ve been a single mother raising three children by myself. I know what it is to not have a job and have to feed your kids,” she said.

Every Man Counts also offers a 6-week employment prep program, which helps re-entry parents with resumes and cover letters.

“We take a holistic approach in helping fathers, helping mothers who have been incarcerated," she said. "We help them navigate the court system. So that’s something no one else is doing besides EMC.”

Ajavon says this holistic approach includes the organization’s four volunteer social workers following up with program participants.

According to Ajavon, Every Man Counts works with local partners, like Wilmington’s Hope Commission, and Stubbs and Elbert-Palmer Elementary schools, and has just applied for official non-profit status.