Dovetail Project To Hold 20th Graduation Ceremony for African American Fathers
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Chicago-based nonprofit organization celebrates and acknowledges 45 young African American fathers that have completed a 12-week family empowerment program.

CHICAGO - illiNews -- On Thursday, June 13th, 2019, The Dovetail Project will celebrate its 20th Graduation Ceremony, where 45 young fathers will graduate at the historical, South Shore Cultural Center at 6:30 PM CST. Dr.  William W. Towns, Ph.D., MBA, will be the KeyNote Speaker and Matt McGill will be the Master of Ceremony.

The Dovetail Project is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that provides young African American fathers ages 17 to 24 the education, skills, and support needed to be better fathers for their children and better men in their communities. The Dovetail Project's 12-week curriculum emphasizes the roles, rights and responsibilities of fatherhood, felony street law and how to maintain an active, engaged presence in their children's lives. Upon completing the program, fathers receive a stipend, are coached and are prepared for job opportunities, GED registration and completion, or enrollment in a trade training program.

Since its inception in 2009, nearly 500 young African American fathers have graduated from the program.

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"This Thursday, families and friends will join us to celebrate 45 fathers who decided to improve their lives for the betterment of their families and community by completing our 12-week program", said Sheldon Smith, founder and Executive Director of the Dovetail Project. "After walking across the stage, our graduates are committing themselves to the lifelong love and labor of fatherhood."

Based on his troubled past, experiences and adversities, founder and Executive Director of The Dovetail Project, Sheldon Smith, developed a program to help young men become better fathers to their families and better men to their community. To date, Smith has been named 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30, Civic Leader of the Obama Foundation, Kenneth Cole Mankind Hero, recipient of the 2018 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award and TEDx speaker at Univeristy of California Santa Barbara .

In the event of the graduation ceremony, The Dovetail Project is honored to have Dr.  William W. Towns, Ph.D., MBA as this year's KeyNote Speaker. Dr. Towns is the Executive Director of Benefit Chicago, a Chicago-based organization that is mobilizing $100 million in impact investments to finance the growth of impact enterprises throughout the Chicago region. Prior to his position at Benefit Chicago, Dr. Towns was an Assistant Vice President at the University of Chicago and led the Office of Civic Engagement's Anchor Strategy.

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This year's Master of Ceremony will be WVON's radio personality, Matt McGill. McGill has established himself as one of the country's premier radio personalities, devoting more than 15 years in the broadcast industry. Chicagoans can listen to Matt McGill along with his co-host Kimberly Egonmwan weekdays from 3pm-6pm on WVON 1690-AM.

The Dovetail Project's graduation ceremony will be held at the South Shore Cultural Center located at 7059 S South Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60649. To RSVP for this event email To learn more about The Dovetail Project and their efforts around Chicago, visit

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About The Dovetail Project

The Dovetail Project works to give young African-American fathers – ages 17 to 24 – the skills and support they need to be better fathers for their children and better men in their communities. Founded in 2009 by Sheldon Smith, The Dovetail Project has graduated more than 400 young fathers. Graduates are equipped and placed on a path for success in education and employment to enable them to be present and consistent fathers and responsible men in their families and communities.

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