Pathway Inc. Brothers United: Serving Generations, Creating Legacies

Meet Mr. Haynes and his Father, Mr. Evans

By Mariah Maddox, Brothers United
Guest Column

It’s no doubt that Brothers United has the mission to serve fathers and families with the intent to create more well-rounded homes within Lucas County. Every once in a while, we come across a story such as that of Mr. Demitrius Haynes and his father, Mr. Michael Evans.

Mr. Haynes initially participated in the Brothers United program in 2018 and then returned again in 2021 to complete Brothers United Healthy Start. The original time he joined, he was approached by a Staff member at Jobs and Family Services. At that time in his life, he needed help and the program sounded interesting, so he signed up. At that time, he had a four-year-old daugther and wanted to join to learn more about Fatherhood and how to deal with his negative co-parenting relationship at the time. Mr. Haynes stated he and his co-parent were having problems and they didn’t have a good relationship at all.

“At first, I didn’t even know how to communicate with my co-parent, let alone even get her in a comfortable state to get visitation rights.”

After going through Brothers United the first time, Mr. Haynes took what he learned from the program and built a healthy relationship with his co-parent. Now, they communicate regularly and even have a verbal agreement between themselves for visitation.

In 2021, Mr. Haynes rejoined the program, stating that the success that occurred the first time led him to coming back once he had his youngest child.

“I got a better understanding of things because the first time, I was really just trying to figure things out. Now, I understand things that need to happen. I’m like a top-notch father. Me and my co-parent were just talking about this. Now that we’re actually talking and got an understanding with each other, she told me she knows that I will never put my daughter in harm’s way. I learned from my father not being there because I always wanted my parents around. I just try to set that by example and make sure I’m there.”

It was 2022 when Mr. Haynes’ father joined the Brothers United Program, just months are Mr. Haynes competed for the second time.

Mr. Evans had no idea of Brothers United or his son’s involvement until he was walking past Bobby Howards and saw a poster of a gentleman putting a bowtie around his son’s neck. He later on asked his son about the program, who told him that it was a great Fatherhood program. Since Mr. Evans was sitting around the house with nothing to do, due to the COVID pandemic, he decided to join. He stated that the program was an awesome opportunity for him as a Father.

Mr. Haynes described his relationship with his father as rocky at first.

“I ain’t really get a real understanding of my father until I was 19. When I had my oldest is when a change developed in my relationship with my father. By the time I had my oldest, he had another child and he always felt bad for not being able to be there for me. Now that I was grown, it made it easier for me to actually want to be around him because I didn’t have to force people to bring me to him. Now it was up to me if I wanted to be around him. That’s my best friend for real.”

Mr. Evans always wanted to be a better father than his father was to him. He shared that even though his father was present, he wasn’t active in his life.

“I had to take all my pains and all my mistakes and apply that to my kids and just turn everything around. Just be a better supportive father and try to keep everything together and be here for the grandkids. I think one mess up that I noticed was I never had my own place so with staying with people, there comes with rules and boundaries. But now that I have my own place, it’s a lot freer. I can be me, my kids can be them because I expect them to be able to come and relax, come and be able to spend time with their children and have that peace of mind.”

Mr. Evans now feels that after the Brothers United program, he understands how to communicate more effectively, and that has helped strengthen his relationship with his children.

“We get to a deeper surface and communicate in a better atmosphere with a better attitude, just respecting each other to a whole different level. I want them to be able to open up if they’re going through things. Know that they can come to me, we can deal with it together and know they’re not in this by themselves.”

Mr. Haynes and Mr. Evans both benefited from the Brothers United program and now have that as part of their stories as something they accomplished together.

Mr. Haynes advises all fathers to go through the program because it helps men to understand their co-parents better.

“It’s not just even about us being a father. Becoming a dad is so easy. Becoming a father is a whole different step because at that time you will know it’s not just about you. A lot of people think it’s all about them and their child. It’s really about all of them working together for that child.”