By Collin Lessing, JVA Consulting
Earlier in the week, my dad told me he would be flying in from Texas this coming weekend to spend Father’s Day with me, and that has me pretty excited. As a son or daughter, you’re usually trying to think of ways to do something nice for your dad on Father’s Day, but it looks like my dad managed to pull together a surprise that will be as special for me as it is for him.
Besides looking forward to a visit with my dad, the holiday also has me thinking about the resources available to men to help them become better fathers. At JVA, we’ve had the opportunity to work closely with organizations locally and nationally that offer programs that support fathers. Headquartered in Maryland, National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) is an organization working to increase the number of children growing up with involved, responsible and committed fathers. In a 2010 interview on CNN, NFI president Roland Warren explained that despite some progress in recent years, there are still 24 million children in the country growing up without fathers.
“At the end of the day it’s about guys making decisions to be involved, committed, responsible fathers,” explained Warren in the interview. “What our research has shown is that a lot of guys don’t have the skills—don’t know what to do. That’s one of the reasons we do a lot of work around skill building.”
NFI offers a variety of resources for fathers on its website. The organization also takes an aggressive approach in spreading awareness through mixed-media PSA campaigns and interviews on national television and radio.
To access NFI’s online resources available to fathers, click here.
Locally, Denver Indian Family Resource Center (DIFRC) is an organization helping to strengthen vulnerable Native American families in the Denver metro area. DIFRC’s programs center around family preservation, family reunification and Indian child welfare advocacy. The Honoring Our Traditional Ways: Strong Fathers program at DIFRC helps men become better fathers by increasing participants’ involvement in raising their children and providing healthy role models.
“We work with good parents and we make them great parents,” said DIFRC project coordinator Thompson Williams in a recent article in Indian Country. “When you have a father not only present physically but emotionally, you have a powerful influence on your life.”
In the article, Williams also described how growing up without a father not only impacts the life of the youth, it affects the preservation of Native American culture.
“Through the experience of not having a father present, they do lose part of their history, part of who they are—for us it’s the loss of our culture, our history. The father—his history, who he is—makes that connection with who we were in the past. When you lose that, you lose part of yourself and you look for it in other ways.”
Fatherhood Support Services is another organization that Denver fathers can turn to for support in building healthy relationships with their children. A small nonprofit based in the baker neighborhood of Denver, Fatherhood Support Services provides parenting classes, networking, coaching, advocacy, individual support, and counseling for fathers who are single, married, divorced or parenting by themselves. These services fill the gap that may exist for men who want to be good parents and want more modeling and information.
“We want fathers to be there and more by creating healthy, nurturing and ongoing relationships with their children that become investments in the future,” said Meg Paccione of Fatherhood Support Services. “When your child grows up happy, healthy and secure they can go on to become a successful, contributing member of our society. And that is a rich and positive return on your investment.”
To learn more Fatherhood Support Services and find out about upcoming group education opportunities, click here.
And to all of the fathers out there, happy Father’s Day!