In This Issue:

  • 2009 Be There for Your Kids Awards
  • Save the Date – 2009 Colorado Fatherhood Rally
  • Daddy Hunger Screening Sheds Light on the Need for Fatherhood Programs and Mentorship
  • Program Spotlight
  • Highlights of Recent Fatherhood Trainings
  • Colorado Fatherhood Programs in their Communities
  • April Featured Father
  • Check Out the Newest My Dad Taught Me Videos on the Colorado Dads Web site
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

2009 Be There for Your Kids Awards

Honoring Extraordinary Colorado Fathers and Fatherhood Programs

Do you know of a Colorado father who has developed special relationships with his children by being there every step of the way? What about a community program or individual who works tirelessly to connect fathers and their children in order to build healthy families? Now is your chance to recognize them by filling out a nomination form for the 2009 Be There for Your Kids Awards.

Among those to be honored are outstanding fathers, fatherhood programs, fatherhood program employees/volunteers, policy makers and/or advocates who demonstrate excellence, consistency, creativity and leadership. The awards will be given at the 2009 Colorado Fatherhood Rally on Saturday, June 20th at City Park in Denver.

Nominations must fall into one of the following six categories:

  1. Father of the Year
  2. Outstanding Fatherhood Practitioner Award
  3. Policymaker or Advocate of the Year
  4. Colorado Fatherhood Council Member of the Year
  5. Program, Coalition or Agency of the Year
  6. Other (workplace of the year, media of the year, visionary of the year, collaborator, etc.)

Nominations should be submitted via the Colorado Dads Web site. The deadline for nominations is Saturday, May 23, 2009.

 

Save the Date –
2009 Colorado Fatherhood Rally

Did you know that the following events took place in 1909?

  • President Taft was inaugurated as the 27th President of the United States in a snowstorm
  • Admiral Peary discovered the North Pole
  • Workers began pouring concrete to build the Panama Canal
  • The United States celebrated the first Father’s Day

What will you do to recognize dad on the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day this summer?

Join the Be There for Your Kids campaign at the 2009 Colorado Fatherhood Rally on Saturday, June 20. Events will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Meadows at City Park. The Rally will feature local and national speakers, food, entertainment, local fatherhood programs, family friendly activities, giveaways and much more. We will also connect to a national Father’s Day rally taking place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial via satellite.

Please contact Rich Batten if you are interested in serving on the Rally planning committee or participating in another capacity.

 

Daddy Hunger Screening
Sheds Light on the Need for Fatherhood Programs and Mentorship

On April 2, the Be There for Your Kids campaign hosted more than 175 people at the Shadow Theatre for a free screening of “Daddy Hunger”.

At a time when more than 25 million children in the United States are living without their fathers, this critically acclaimed documentary examines the impact of fatherlessness in the African-American communities of northern California. In the film, men and women from various backgrounds share what Daddy Hunger means to them and also discuss community solutions to combat father absence. The film brings forth a simple message – one of redemption, hope and love.

Ray Upchurch, executive producer of the film, and representatives from various Colorado fatherhood programs led a question and answer session following the screening. Questions included: “How can I get my child’s mother to recognize that I should be a part of her life?” “What role does domestic violence prevention and assistance play with fractured families?”  “How can different fatherhood and mentorship programs connect to combine their services?” Ultimately, the screening served as a critical opportunity to connect the fathers in attendance to available programs in their communities.

For more information on “Daddy Hunger”, please visit www.daddyhunger.com. We look forward to bringing Ray and “Daddy Hunger” back to Denver soon.

 

Program Spotlight –
Advocacy for La Plata,
a Program of the
Women’s Resource
Center - Durango

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

Advocacy for La Plata (AFLP) assists fathers and families in accessing the various community resources needed to become self-sufficient (i.e. food bank, mental health services, affordable housing, job training and child care assistance, etc). Our advocates work one-on-one with fathers to empower and educate them on their rights and responsibilities as dads.

Currently, AFLP offers a voluntary weekly support group for dads using the Responsible Fatherhood curriculum as a guide. What makes AFLP unique is that we also offer the Responsible Fatherhood curriculum class on a weekly basis at the Southern Ute Detention Center, which houses men from various U.S. tribes.

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

AFLP has several objectives as it relates to fatherhood. 

First, we strive to empower all fathers. One way in which we empower is through our 16-week fatherhood support group. We also provide one-on-one case management where we pride ourselves on the trusting relationships we build with our clients as we help them accomplish their goals on their own. We want all fathers to know how valuable they are to their children and to their community.

Secondly, we work to educate our colleagues and local policy makers through our involvement in a number of community and statewide coalitions where we advocate for the availability of community resources for dads.  

3. Describe at typical day at Advocacy for La Plata.

There is no typical day at AFLP because we offer client-centered, strength based services and let client needs dictate how we schedule appointments. We may come into the office and check voice mail to discover that one of our fathers needs to be in court or is having a crisis with his employer or his children. Based on our trusting relationships, our clients know that they can count on us to meet them wherever they are. 

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

Watching them become empowered and take control of their situation, whatever that may be. It is such a reward when a father realizes how important he is in his children's lives or when he realizes his rights and exercises those rights in the best interest of his children.

It’s also very powerful to see that fathers really do need support. It is always a pleasure to see friendships formed; this is observed in our fatherhood support group by listening to fathers talk to each other before group or on break about how the previous week went, what successes or challenges they faced or seeing them exchange phone numbers so they can get together and take the kids fishing on Saturday.

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

In October 2007, a father was referred to us by child welfare.  The referring agent stated that this dad had been removed from his home due to an inability to control his anger that resulted in him lashing out against his kids. 

This father arrived on time to class each week, constructively participated in group and never missed one session of the 16 weeks required for a certificate of completion. He was also concurrently and actively engaged in mental health services and successfully completed another 24-week program focused on relationship/life skills. There were times when this father struggled and at one point was living in his car, yet he persisted in doing whatever was necessary to reunite with his partner and their children. He successfully completed all requirements of his treatment plan with child welfare and has reunified with his family. He has even asked child welfare to keep his case open because he values the benefits of family therapy. 

After completing AFLP’s 16-week class, this father has continued to attend our fatherhood group each week. He has been attending for more than 17 months - only missing three or four evenings - has served as a mentor for new group members and has recently been hired to co-facilitate the group. He now has a wonderful relationship with his children. They’ve just recently taken up some new outdoor activities and have been volunteering, along with the AFLP fatherhood advocate, at the homeless shelter twice a year.

 

Highlights of Recent Fatherhood Trainings

In the snow and sun, Colorado fatherhood practitioners sought to improve their skills in the use of three of the more popular fatherhood curriculums over the past two months.

The March 26th Nurturing Fatherhood Program training began with gray skies and ended early because of blizzard conditions. Plans are in the works to bring the participants - who came from Steamboat Springs, Montrose, Colorado Springs and metro Denver - back together again in May to complete the training. Special thanks to the Gil Foundation for hosting us.

The combined practical wisdom of John Holmberg and Pastor Jerome Perkins proved to be just the right mix for those who attended the National Fatherhood Initiative’s 24/7 and Inside Out Dad curricula training earlier this month. The 24/7 Dad curriculum is a practical introduction that helps men take steps to be the kind of dads their kids need them to be. Inside Out Dad is specifically written for dads in and transitioning out of prison and is one of the curricula we are hoping will gain acceptance and momentum in correctional facilities across the State.

 

Colorado Fatherhood Programs in their Communities

The Road Called STRATE
Welcomes Northwestern Students

The Road Called STRATE was pleased to have seven Northwestern University students come to Colorado to volunteer with the program last month.

In the students’ own words:

After taking a class focused on prisons and reentry at Northwestern, we piled into a van and drove to Colorado to spend a week at the Road Called STRATE. Our class focused on the policies and issues regarding sentencing and ex-offender reentry, but we wanted to learn firsthand from people and organizations working to serve ex-offenders.

We spent the week meeting staff, observing classes and helping out at the program and other Denver organizations. We met with people from organizations such as Colorado CURE and CCJRC who are working to change legislation so that offenders have more options for drug treatment and alternatives to incarceration. Throughout the week we were able to learn more about available services for ex-offenders and how crucial job training and life skills classes can be for a successful reentry into society. The skills and advice that the Road Called STRATE staff offer to clients are invaluable.

It is clear that more of these services need to be created so that all ex-offenders can have access to resources that will support them in their difficult transition from prison to society. We were truly inspired by the scope of people working to improve the justice system in Denver. We hope we can bring this knowledge and enthusiasm for reform back to Illinois.

Jefferson County Fathers
Receive an Unexpected Donation from the
“Sew and Sews”

Written by Ray Washington, fatherhood program administrator, Jefferson County Office of Child Support Enforcement

Just a few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a woman who introduced herself as Roseanne and told me that she was a member of the “sew and sews" group. The “sew and sews”, I thought, hmm that's cute. As the conversation progressed, I learned that this was a sewing club composed of elderly women. Normally, they sew quilts, hand bags and other items to donate to a variety of community members. The group had just finished putting together Easter baskets for local families and had a few left over. They were interested in giving them to local fathers in need.

I knew that we had about 10 fathers who would love to have Easter baskets to give to their children. We had a small dilemma, though. The group had only two completed baskets left over. There were others, filled with grass, but there were no goodies to fill them with. I had an idea. If I could get all of the goodies donated, I asked Roseanne, could the group put the baskets together?

I could hear the excitement in her voice as she told me how thrilled the ladies would be to do this project for our fathers and families. I contacted a local company, Vision Entertainment, to see if they would be willing to bring some joy into the lives of a few families this Easter. The owner was pleased to provide Easter baskets for 23 children and 10 outstanding fathers participating in our fatherhood program. Not only were the baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and plastic eggs filled with candy and other goodies, there were also practical items such as tooth brushes and toothpaste, socks, hair ties, McDonald’s gift cards, spring outfits for children, gift cards for a day of family fun at Mr. Biggs and books. Most of the dads received the baskets during our fatherhood support group that meets every Wednesday at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

I was able to hand deliver an Easter basket to one of our fathers during a supervised visitation session. When I walked into the visit, his boys saw the beautifully decorated baskets and sprang to their feet with excitement and anticipation. This father is unemployed and I am certain would not have been able to provide baskets of this magnitude on his own to his sons this Easter. When he stood to shake my hand as I was leaving, the moisture in his eyes and the grip of his handshake said it all.  He did not have to say one word. I understood.

As I was driving home from church on Easter Sunday, I received an unexpected phone call. A child, whom I could not understand very well, was on the other end of the line. After the second or third time asking the child to repeat what she was saying, I was finally able to decipher "thank you for the Easter baskinet". Her dad got on the line and interpreted for me. It was Easter Sunday and  not only did she have her father's "presents", more importantly she had her father's "presence".

 

April Featured Father – Keith Hall

Colorado Springs resident Keith Hall is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads Web site. A father of one, Keith is passionate about restoring cars and sharing that love with his young daughter.

Describe your funniest moment as a dad.

So far it would have to be when we go to work on my car. My daughter crawls underneath the garage door before I even have a chance to get it up all the way. She rushes over and hugs the rear bumper of the car saying, “I’ve missed my Mustang”.

What would you consider to be your most inspiring moment as a dad?

When my father told me that he was proud of me for going after custody of my daughter.


 

Check Out the Newest My Dad Taught Me Videos on the Colorado Dads Web site

On March 28, we recruited Weld County residents young and old to videotape their favorite My Dad Taught Me moments during the Northern Colorado Children’s Fair. After taping more than 30 attendees, 14 vignettes from the shoot are now airing in the media campaigns section of the Colorado Dads Web site.

The goal of the My Dad Taught Me campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of paternal involvement and how fun it can be for dads and their kids to spend time together. Keep visiting the Colorado Dads Web site to find out where this campaign will be headed next!

 

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 “2009 Fatherhood Rally & Be There Awards”, “First child brings joy and stress” and “Grandma Finney’s blue ribbon”. 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. Check out our newest Colorado Fatherhood Rally promotional video!

 

Upcoming Events

2009 Baseball Experience Contest

Baseball is considered America’s pastime and the sport has always been a great way for fathers and kids to spend time together.

Throughout spring and summer 2009, the Be There for Your Kids campaign is partnering with FSN Rocky Mountain to raise awareness of the importance of father involvement. As this campaign develops, we are also pleased to offer fathers and their children a unique offer – a chance to meet the FSN Rocky Mountain broadcast team of Drew Goodman, George Frazier and Jeff Huson and ask a baseball question on-camera during a Sunday Colorado Rockies home game telecast.

Register today for your chance to ask a question on FSN Rocky Mountain with your son or daughter!

Chester Marshall – Scholarly Author Presentation

April 30, 2009
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Hosted by Bro. Herman Muhammad and The Black Experience
7230 E. Colfax
Denver, CO 80207

Join the Project PROUD Fatherhood Program and Lowry Family Center
in welcoming to our city Mr. Chester Marshall, MSW. Chester is a frequent contributor to BET and CNN and the author of Black Men Heal, Volume I. Door prizes and light food will be provided.

 

Regional Fatherhood Forums

Northern Colorado Dads 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 Colorado Springs, 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 movie passes to any Kerasotes Movie Theatre in Colorado.

Free family admission (2 adults and 2 children) to the Pueblo Zoo.

Free tickets to
the June 13
Denver Outlaws lacrosse game.

. . .


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