In This Issue:

  • Fatherhood Programs Participate in 2008 Training Academy
  • Make the Pledge and Join Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence
  • Program Spotlight
  • Schools, Fathers and Families Encouraged to Participate in Walk to School Day 2008
  • September Featured Father
  • Fatherhood Programs in their Communities
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

Fatherhood Programs Participate in 2008 Training Academy

On October 1 – October 3, 2008, Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Community Access Programs will come together in Vail for the second annual Fatherhood Training Academy. The theme of this year’s academy is Building a Successful Game Plan. Over the course of three days, programs will attend presentations on such topics as best practice tips for working with dads in groups; parenting by men who batter: understanding a continuum of services; working with child support enforcement; working with unwed fathers; and working with and learning from Hispanic and Latino fathers. Fatherhood and family practitioners from across the country will present at the academy.

In keeping with the Building a Successful Game Plan theme, the keynote address at the academy will be delivered by Joe Ehrmann of Building Men and Women for Others. A former NFL player with the Baltimore Colts, Joe is a Colts’ Man of the Year winner and was the first recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. Since 1995, he has been the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Gilman School in Baltimore.

Building Men and Women for Others seeks to redefine and reframe the social responsibility of sports, coaches, parents and players as well as address issues of violence and child advocacy. Parade Magazine has featured Joe on its cover as the most important coach in America because of his work to transform the culture of sports and the Institute for International Sport named him one of the 100 most influential sport educators in America.

Also during the academy, we will recognize the winners of the 2008 Be There for Your Kids Awards. Those honored include an outstanding father, fatherhood program, fatherhood program employees/volunteers and advocates who have demonstrated excellence, creativity, consistency and leadership.

Winners of the 2008 Be There for Your Kids Awards

  • Father of the Year – Shalako Powers
  • Program of the Year – Dad UP – The Road Called STRATE
  • Individual of the Year – Troy Grimes
  • Colorado Fatherhood Council Member of the Year – Dan Welch
  • Advocate of the Year – Walt Grady
  • Community Impact Award – Scott Gilmore
 

Make the Pledge and
Join Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence

According to recent statistics, 49 Coloradans died as a result of domestic violence encounters in 2007. Nearly 5.3 million intimate partner victimizations occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older. This violence results in nearly two million injuries and nearly 1,300 deaths. These alarming numbers signify the need for all Coloradans to take a stand against domestic violence.

Over the past several years, men have dedicated themselves to ending domestic violence in increasing numbers. According to a national survey completed for the Family Violence Prevention Fund, two in three U.S. fathers (68 percent) have talked to their sons about the importance of healthy, violence-free relationships and 63 percent have talked to their daughters. Fifty-five percent of the men surveyed have talked to other boys who are not their sons. Only by making the commitment to do no harm and educate young men on the importance of family safety can men help end the cycle of violence.

The Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence campaign, an initiative of the Be There for Your Kids public awareness campaign, is now asking men to sign a pledge of declaration indicating that they will take a stand against domestic violence. This pledge can be signed online at www.coloradodads.com or at various community organizations and social service agencies across Colorado. On the Colorado Dads Web site, users can also find links to domestic violence agencies statewide as well as educational resources to use as they mentor others to stop and prevent domestic violence.

 

 

Program Spotlight
Project PROUD Fatherhood Program –
Lowry Family Center – Denver

1. What services do you provide to fathers with your community access grant funding?

We provide everything from case management to child support advocacy, employment readiness training, job placement, visitation and parental support, parenting classes for fathers, support groups for adult and teen fathers, couples communication classes and more.

2. What do you ultimately want to achieve with your program?

I, Lowry Family Center case manager Troy Grimes, would like for my program to not be a fly by night effort but a long-term service and program available to men and their families.

3. Describe at typical day at the Lowry Family Center.

Our days are far from typical. Each day brings about new challenges along with new rewards. A day might consist of completing intakes with four fathers who are out of work and in need of food and housing. It could also be a full day in court with a father advocating for him to receive visitation or custody of his children. It might involve speaking to a group of kids - the future generation of fathers who have the power to change the way we think about men and fatherhood. A day could also consist of going out into the community and meeting with professionals and agencies to enlighten them about the fatherhood initiative and solicit their support.

4. What is the best part about working with fathers?

It is knowing that I am doing something that few have even considered. Being a father at a young age myself, I know that this effort to empower fathers as a key to the stability of all families is new to systems - child support, human services, schools, etc. I know that I am part of something monumental. Plus, they tell me ‘thank you’ and ‘I appreciate you’ and who doesn’t need to hear that from time to time.

5. Share a program/father success story with us.

I may measure success differently than others. I feel as if our program has been successful for the simple fact that my executive director, Kathy Hill-Young, even bothered to go after the money to provide such a service to our community. We are a success every day because we are always working diligently on the behalf of fathers. So often we see a father who has received support from us, taken classes, been hired for a job and worked to get his family on their feet while another one walks in the door, down and out, and we start the cycle all over. Again, the success is that the door is open!

 

Schools, Fathers and Families Encouraged to Participate in Walk to School Day 2008

On October 8, 2008, 47 schools across Colorado will participate in the 11th annual International Walk to School Day. More than 1,600 schools across the country are set to take part in Walk to School Day this year.

Event times will vary depending on school start times, but most activities will be held between 7:00 and 9:30 a.m. Parents are encouraged to walk with their children on October 8 to embrace the idea of health, safety and education in their children’s lives. Walk to School Day promotes safe routes to school and emphasizes the physical, mental and environmental health benefits of walking or bicycling. Studies have shown that children who are physically active do better in school and morning activity is associated with increased activity throughout the day. In addition, school-related vehicle transportation, congestion and pollution drastically decrease with more walkers and bicyclists.

The Be There for Your Kids campaign is encouraging as many fathers as possible to walk with their children to school on October 8. A recent study completed by National Center for Fathering compared changes in father involvement from 1999-2008. The overall results indicated that one of the greatest increases in father involvement has come in the form of "walking or taking your child to school".

 

September Featured Father – Joe Cannata

Joe Cannata is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads Web site. A father of four, grandfather of 13 and great-grandfather of six, Joe has certainly experienced a number of funny parenting situations. Through his organization, Voices of Victims, Joe works tirelessly to prevent the re-victimization of people who are victims of violent crimes in Colorado.

What is your proudest moment as a dad?

Our daughter, Lynn, was murdered in 1987 in an act of domestic violence. In 1995, I began working to change laws so that other families wouldn't have to go through what we did. Because we had to go to many parole hearings every couple of years, our life was a constant emotional roller coaster.

I wanted to change the law so that violent offenders would have to serve 75 percent of their sentence before they were eligible for parole. In 2004, the bill was finally passed and my family stood on the west steps of the Capitol, with Representative Andrew Romanoff and Senator Jim Dyer, as they publicly named the new law "Lynn's Law".

What would you hope that your kids would say about you if asked what kind of dad they have?

One who has always cared for us and who has always been willing to help anyone in need. A father who always tries to make things better for others.


 

Fatherhood Programs
in their Communities

Our Community Access Programs provide fathers and their children with positive family time by organizing picnics, basketball games, park days and trips to local sporting events. Recently, Muslim Family Services hosted a fatherhood picnic at Cook Park in Denver and the Colorado Head Start Association (CHSA) welcomed more than 2,000 families, friends and staff to a special Rockies game.

 

Colorado Head Start at the Rockies

On September 7, CHSA, in partnership with the Colorado Rockies, hosted Colorado Head Start Day at the Rockies. This special event celebrated the wonderful contributions that Head Start fathers make to their children every day. More than 2,000 Head Start families, staff and friends came out to the ballpark to enjoy a day at the stadium with their children. 

Benito Martinez and his son, Alfredo, were selected to attend practice where they got to meet and receive autographs from players. Kevin Brankin, Conner Brankin, Rob Hadley and Shata Hope joined the Martinez family in representing CHSA on the field for the pre-game opening ceremony. Although the Rockies weren’t able to pull out a win, everyone had a wonderful time enjoying hot dogs, watching some ball and most importantly spending the day with dad. 

CHSA is working in collaboration with Head Start grantees statewide to implement successful fatherhood programs by providing statewide trainings and regional fatherhood activities that promote sustainable programs. For more information on the CHSA fatherhood initiative, visit www.coloheadstart.org.

 

Muslim Family Services
Fatherhood Picnic

On August 17, families participating in the Muslim Family Services fatherhood program gathered at Cook Park for an afternoon of face painting, henna, food, balloons and back to school supplies.

 

 

Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives

Our public awareness campaign strives to get the message of responsible fatherhood out to local communities in a variety of ways.

The Fastbreak for Fathers blog, written by Rich Batten, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, is updated on a regular basis. Recent topics include bringing out the best in your son, blessing our children and resources for new dads. Become a subscriber of the blog and you will receive automatic e-mail announcements when it is updated.

As online social networking Web sites continue to connect various groups throughout the country, the Be There for Your Kids campaign has created our own fatherhood Facebook and MySpace pages as well as a YouTube channel. We are looking for new fans of these pages to comment on recent fatherhood notes and videos and discuss relevant topics in the discussion boards.

 

Upcoming Events

A Walk in Her Shoes Rally –
Commemorating National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 6, 2008
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Colorado State Capitol, West Steps

Join Rich Batten, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, and hundreds of others as we take a public stand on behalf of victims and against domestic violence. In keeping with the theme, Rich will be asking men to donate a pair of shoes to symbolically represent their commitment to walk beside and for victims. Shoes donated at the rally will be given to a local charity.

Street parking for the rally is available on Grant Street, just east of the Capitol. Attendees can also utilize a parking lot on the east side of the Capitol, just south of Colfax on Grant Street.

National Native American Fatherhood Conference
October 27 – October 29, 2008
Windemere Hotel and Conference Center
Mesa, Arizona

Register now for this third annual conference.

 

Regional Fatherhood Forums

Front Range Fatherhood Forum
Held on the third Friday of every month from 9:00-10:30 a.m. For more information, contact Ben DeVoss from Lifelong Adult Education Services at 303.573.0839.

Boulder/Larimer/Weld County Fatherhood Forum
Held on various days throughout the month. For more information, contact Tyler Osterhaus, Family Focus Program Manager, Weld County Department of Social Services, Family Focused Prevention Unit at 970.352.1551 X622.

Arkansas River Area Fatherhood Team
A monthly meeting in Pueblo or Cañon City for lunch, encouragement and for sharing ideas related to working with fathers. For more information, contact George Hoherd from the Community Partnership for Child Development at 719.635.1536 x262.

Southwest Fatherhood Coordination Council
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Diana Buza from The Pinon Project at 970.564.1195 x41.

Northwest Fatherhood Forum
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Steve Aurand from Garfield County Department of Human Services at 970.625.5282 x624.

Northeast Fatherhood Forum
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Jackie Reynolds from Rural Solutions at 970.526.3216.

Check out coloradodads.com to register for free or low-cost opportunities for dads to connect with their kids. Current offers include:
. . .

Free admission
to the Denver Children’s Museum 
. . .

 


Each month, coloradodads.com is excited to profile a Colorado dad and his view of fatherhood. If you know of a Dad who works hard to be there for his kids and should be profiled on the Colorado dads Web site, please contact Maggie Spain.


To speak with someone directly about fatherhood support services, please call:

1.877.695.7996 (English)
or 1.866.527.3264 (Spanish).

Trained volunteers from Families First staff this line.

To speak with someone directly regarding the Be There For Your Kids public awareness campaign or the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, please contact an individual listed below.

Colorado Department of Human Services Contact Information:
Rich Batten
Fatherhood Specialist
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Email

Mary Roberto
Manager, Family Strengthening Section
Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division
303.866.2641
Email

The Bawmann Group Contacts:
(regarding the public awareness campaign materials – Web site, advertising and media relations).

Jennifer Nuhfer
Vice President of Communications
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790
Email

Maggie Spain
Account Manager
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790
Email