Smith, center, uses the Dovetail Project to help young fathers in Chicago become positive role models.

For most of Sheldon Smith’s childhood, his father was in and out of jail — and in and out of his life.

In that, he’s not alone.
In the United States, nearly half of all African-American children grow up without a steady father figure,according to U.S. census data.
But Smith is working to change that cycle in his troubled Chicago community.
His nonprofit, the Dovetail Project, gives young fathers such as himself the skills to be positive role models and responsible parents.
“Their fathers weren’t in their lives,” said Smith, 27. “They all went through the same things I went through.”
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