Committed to Raising Up the Next Generation

to Connect, Thrive, and Shine

Fathering Fathers, founded by Michael Sanford in 2010, is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising up healthy, confident, and well-prepared boys and girls.

In 2011 Jake Milano joined Sanford, bringing with him 25 years of experience as a School Psychologist. Together they designed what would become The REAL Mentors Program.

Their initial focus centered on hosting activities in which fathers and sons participated together. These interactive activities were designed to build stronger bonds, foster deeper relationships, and create a spirit of camaraderie between dads and sons through shared experiences in a group setting.

Fathering Father Youths Photo

Today, the primary focus has shifted to The REAL Mentors Program. REAL is an acronym for Respect, Engage, Acknowledge, and Listen. These form the core tenets of the group mentoring programs we offer middle school boys and girls. Each adds an essential layer to building lasting REAL Connections.

Connection is “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship”. ~ Brené Brown, author of The Gift of Imperfection

The REAL Mentors Program offers a unique opportunity for middle school girls and boys to learn these life skills outside the classroom with dedicated mentors trained in the REAL Method.

Our Vision

A community of men and women who accept the challenge to step up and raise up the next generation.

Our Purpose

To provide The R.E.A.L Connection for every boy and girl – Respect, Engage, Acknowledge, and Listen. For it is through this connection that we become REAL with each other.

Our Mission

To prepare the youth of today for the world of tomorrow.

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Real Connection

The REAL Mentors Program for boys was initiated in May of 2011 at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School in Boylston, Massachusetts. School Psychologist Jake Milano designed the program working in coordination with Mike Sanford of Fathering Fathers and staff from Boys To Men New England.

Over his 25 years at Tahanto where he counseled students of all ages, he came to the realization, for many of the boys he worked with something was missing. While young men who…

Real Connection

This program provides young women, as they transition into adulthood, a venue for open, honest, and frank discussions. It will model the boy’s program. An adult woman mentor will lead the program with the support of women volunteers from the local community. The program initially will run after school one day a week from 2:30 to 4:30. It may expand to two or three days a week depending on the needs of the students.

Real News
Connection in Chaos

The CoVid-19 pandemic has necessitated we change in order to survive. The global shutdown and the instituting of ‘social distancing’ has in a sense, shrunk our personal world. But as humans, we have a need to belong… to be part of something bigger. Creating REAL Connection now is more important than ever.

Community Connection: The Bond for a Brighter Future

Now in our fifth year here in Clinton The REAL Mentors Program has provided a place for middle school students to share together, engage in activities together, and learn about one another. The boys’ program is entering its sixth year and the girl’s program got its...


REAL Mentors In this fast paced world of smartphones and technology we don’t take the time to connect with other people. By connect we mean sit with someone we can talk to so we may be heard, understood and accepted. Connecting is essential to leading a fulfilling...

What is Trust?

What is Trust? Confidence, belief, faith, certainty, assurance, conviction, reliance. A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. In my personal experience of trusting or extending trust to another person I think first about...