New Fathers’ Center program coordinator
- January 15, 2016
LCFS’ Fathers’ Center (based out of Unity Lutheran Church in East St. Louis) welcomes new Program Coordinator Eric Schmitt (pictured below, left). LCFS Child Welfare Supervisor Kris Martin (pictured below, right) has also joined the program, which makes this a dynamic partnership within LCFS Community Services and for those who will be served in this program. The program’s goal is to reconnect fathers with their children and highlight the importance of their role and this bond in the lives of their children and families.
The Fathers’ Center is a mobile LCFS Community Services program, which means it will be provided at various sites within East St. Louis so that transportation and other barriers to participants will be reduced or eliminated. Fatherlessness and being harmed by one’s father are leading public-health crises. With the services it provides, the Fathers’ Center aims to make a positive impact in the lives of those affected by the absence of fathers in the lives of their children.
Eric Schmitt is a native of Peoria, Illinois and a graduate of Peoria Central High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Bellevue University, in Bellevue, Nebraska in 2009. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1996 – 2000. During his service he served at Marine Barracks 8th & I and Camp David as a member of the Security Detachment. He also served with 3rd Battalion 8th Marines as an infantryman.
After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps, Eric returned to Illinois and worked at Peoria County Jail as a Correctional Officer from March 2000 until August 2002.
Eric has worked for the Federal Bureau of prisons since August of 2002. He is currently a Lieutenant with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, FCI Greenville. He began his career in 2002 at FCI Pekin as an officer and transferred to USP Canaan in 2005. In 2010, he was promoted to Lieutenant at FCI Williamsburg in Salters, South Carolina. In 2012, he was again promoted to his current position at FCI Greenville as a Lieutenant.
Eric has been married for 17 years and has three children: two sons ages 16 and 13 years and a daughter who is 21-months old.
Eric has been involved with coaching youth baseball and soccer and assisted with Boy Scouts when his sons were involved with the programs. He prides himself in being a positive role model in the lives of his children.
Kris Martin has worked for LCFS for six years as a foster-care supervisor prior to joining the Fathers’ Center. According to Kris, “Being a product of a single father household, I understand the dire need for fathers to be in their children’s lives. I am very grateful for my father having a strong presence and involvement throughout my life. Unfortunately, commitment alone is not enough for fathers to be active in their children’s lives, which is why resources (like the Father’s Center) are needed. Every opportunity to obtain those resources should be readily available. (It is important to me to work with Eric to help) ensure that father’s rights are not ignored, (and that fathers are provided with the necessary assistance) to obtain custody of their children and successfully maintain guardianship.”