Classes for rookie dads expand on the Peninsula

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, a program for dads-to-be is expanding on the Peninsula.

Child Development Resource’s Fatherhood Program is now teaching dads to diaper, swaddle and more in Newport News. It’s been around for about 10 years in Williamsburg. WAVY’s Stephanie Harris caught up with a dad who swears it changed his family forever.

Watching Jeff Carroll with his boys now, you’d never know he was once anxious about adopting a newborn.

“Throughout my career, I’ve worked from elementary through high school, but never birth to five, so that was a whole new adventure for me,” Carroll told WAVY.com.

Carroll, principal at Warhill High School, enrolled in a rookie dad class at a local hospital.

“It’s nice to be able to ask another man who’s been through it without being embarrassed and ask, ‘How do you do this? or, ‘How do you do that?'”

He learned child safety, how to swaddle a newborn and change a diaper.

“I got better with experience, why don’t we just leave it at that?” he laughed.

He gained confidence to take over nighttime feedings and took advantage of continuing classes. Those turned out to be a blessing he could have never imagined.

His toddler at the time, Peter Joseph had an awkward crawl that concerned Jeff. Through the Child Development Resource classes, he got the child screened. The diagnosis was a form of Cerebral palsy, but you’d never know it today.

The five-year-old is going to kindergarten in the fall and no longer qualifies for special services at school.

“It’s all because of CDR and those early interventions we were able to make a difference,” Carroll said. “They changed his life.”

If you ask his kids, those free parenting classes really paid off.

“He’s a good dad… Just really awesome,” said Carroll’s son, Michael.

The classes with Child Development Resources are offered at Sentara Williamsburg, now at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News and there are plans to begin at Mary Immaculate in Newport News in October. You can learn more on CDR’s website.