January 29, 2021
Father Focus: Demetrius Pruitt
To paraphrase Albert Einstein: if you want different results, try different approaches. Mr. Demetrius Pruitt had trouble addressing this before coming to Upstate Fatherhood Coalition.
Mr. Pruitt had never learned how to work through issues with others in a positive manner, so his relationships were strained. Now a father of two sons by different mothers, he wanted to improve. Working alongside his father in the family concrete services business was steady work but wasn’t providing the lifestyle he wanted for himself and his sons. He wanted to build his skillset and expand the business to increase his earnings. One option was to attend the Heavy Equipment Operator’s Program at Tri-County Technical College, but the tuition and a lack of motivation kept him from pursuing it.
When he fell behind on his child support payment, Pruitt found himself before a judge in Anderson County Family Court. The judge, hearing Pruitt’s struggles with parenting, communication, and earnings, thought he would benefit more from the fatherhood programs at Upstate Fatherhood Coalition (UFC) than from spending time in jail.
This opportunity would be the key to Mr. Pruitt unlocking the door to a different perspective on life and a new approach to problem solving.
At UFC, Pruitt enrolled in the Parenting & Co-parenting, Healthy Relationships and Economic Stability programs where he worked to improve his parenting skills and to learn positive, productive ways to communicate with others, especially the mothers of his children. He also learned more about managing his finances and making steps toward economic mobility. While he was completing these programs, UFCs staff was helping Pruitt go after his goal to attend Tri-County Tech. He had received some financial assistance from the school, but he needed more to cover the costs of the program. With encouragement and a little prodding from his case worker, Pruitt applied for a Workforce Scholarship from SCWorks. His request was approved, and he received the balance of the tuition he needed to enroll at the school.
Pruitt graduated from the Heavy Equipment Operator Program in July 2020. He was hired in a full-time position with Langston Construction Company in Anderson, SC, and still works with his father as needed.
A new career path coupled with better communication skills and a new approach to the job of parenting has impacted this father’s life in so many positive ways. He feels he has become a much better parent to his boys and understands the importance of quality time when they are together. He continues to work with his sons’ mothers to build better ways to talk, resolve issues and work together to create the best life possible for their children.