Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • What's New on www.coloradodads.com
  • Denver Broncos Star Elvis Dumervil Meets with Colorado Dads and Kids
  • Colorado Site Visit with Earl Johnson and the Office of Family Assistance
  • Program Spotlight
  • Colorado Dads Homepage Poll — What Do Visitors Think?
  • Coping with Divorce
  • November Featured Father
  • FRED Reading Logs Due
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

 

What's New on www.coloradodads.com

With versions in both English and Spanish, the Colorado Dads website continues to serve as an all-encompassing resource for fathers and fatherhood practitioners. Because the site is updated almost every day, you may have missed some of our most recent updates.

Healthy Relationships

The Healthy Relationships section of the website is updated on a regular basis to include links to research and educational tips for dads.

Check out the New Dads page to download a tip sheet focused on moms connecting with their dads-to-be and a recent community column from the Be There for Your Kids campaign on what dads should expect while they're expecting.

The Child Support Resources page within the Healthy Relationships section has also been updated to include an important document for fathers — 12 tips to use when working with Child Support.

And, as you are helping your children through the ups and downs of their school years, don't forget to check out the School Connections page. Here, you can find links to ways dads can become more involved in their children's academic activities and available school volunteer opportunities for dads like the WATCH DOGS (Dads of Great Students) program.

News

The News section of the Colorado Dads website is updated constantly. Here you can find links to fatherhood news stories from around the world, read all of the Be There for Your Kids e-newsletters, check out our two blogs and view testimonials from 38 featured fathers.

 

 

Denver Broncos Star Elvis Dumervil Meets with Colorado Dads and Kids

On Friday, November 12th, a group of special fathers and their children met with Elvis Dumervil, defensive star of the Denver Broncos, to share stories about their time together at the recent Broncos vs. Jets game. And as the conversation started flowing, the discussion led to life on the football field and the importance of fathers in the lives of their children.

“I know how important it is for kids to have family in their lives,” said Elvis as he commended all the fathers on making the commitment to be there for their kids. “Dads are special. And to the kids here tonight, remember to go to school and play hard on the field. It’s difficult to play catch-up and your schoolwork is what’s most important.”

As part of his community outreach initiative to provide Broncos tickets to Colorado charities throughout the 2010 season, Elvis donated tickets to the October 17th Broncos/Jets game to seven deserving fathers and their children. The fathers and children selected for the recognition are participants in metro Denver fatherhood programs funded by the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative.

Approximately 25 million American children are currently living in father absent homes. When fathers are present in their children’s lives, children are significantly more likely to do better in school, not repeat a grade and less likely to live in poverty or commit crime. Sports ? participating, watching or attending games together — are often an easy connector for fathers and their children.

Thanks for your time and generosity, Elvis!

 

 

Colorado Site Visit with Earl Johnson and the Office of Family Assistance

The Jefferson County Child Support Program has been a recipient of Colorado PRF community access funds since the beginning of our grant cycle in 2006. During this time, the program has made tremendous strides in serving fathers, building collaborations with state, county and community agencies in order to improve father engagement and decreasing the anger many fathers feel toward Child Support Enforcement.

On Wednesday, November 17th, the PRF Initiative and Jefferson County Child Support Enforcement Program were treated to a special visit from Dr. Earl Johnson, director of the Office of Family Assistance, United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Johnson is well known for his expertise in poverty and fatherhood issues. He is the author of Fathers Fair Share: Helping Poor Men Manage Child Support and Fatherhood. During his visit to Colorado, Dr. Johnson met with a group of 20 people who have been instrumental in the success of the Jefferson County program. From partnerships with sober homes and mediation services to prevention initiatives with a local high school and free legal aid to fathers, innovative collaborations have allowed Jefferson County Child Support to provide needed resources to hundreds of fathers.

As the Obama administration looks at continued funding for fatherhood programs, collaboration between governmental and community agencies is key. Dr. Johnson was very impressed with what he saw taking place in Jefferson County and the fatherhood initiatives he learned about that are occurring statewide. Once again, Colorado is leading the nation in serving fathers.

 

 

Program Spotlight — Turning Point Mental Health Services — Denver

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

Turning Point Mental Health Services provides a parenting program that utilizes the Caring Dads curriculum. This program fills a void in addressing the particular challenges and educational needs of parents with histories of domestic violence. It not only helps parents recognize the effects of domestic violence on their children, but it also provides them with positive and concrete ways to become more responsible co-parents. These classes naturally provide a powerful incentive for parents to recognize the importance of providing a more positive example for their children.

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

We, Greg and Dawn Schmidli, program directors, hope to see a significant shift in fathers' involvement with their children. We are promoting a nurturing and active approach to parenting. For most children, having a more involved father is likely to have a cascade of positive effects on their development. Children thrive with the unconditional love of adults and when two adults are available to fulfill this role, children do better academically, socially and emotionally.

3. Describe at typical day at Turning Point Mental Health Services.

Our day at Turning Point is usually full of unpredictability. We are constantly in contact with probation and other referral sources, keeping them informed of their clients' problems and progress. We are also available to our clients throughout the day to answer questions or concerns. During the daylight hours we usually interact with individuals or couples, sometimes completing intakes and discharges.

Our group counseling services begin in the late afternoon and proceed through the evening until about 9:00 p.m. Turning Point Mental Health Services also provides internship opportunities for masters and undergraduate level students at local colleges so we spend a great deal of time providing training and supervision for our students.

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

A lot of men in our society have either willingly or unknowingly participated in the denigration of their role in families. In some cases they are simply re-living the lives that they grew up living. They sometimes see no problem with the fact that their own fathers were absent and sometimes they desire to be present, but have had no role models for that endeavor. Without a role model, men often resign themselves to their best idea of what it means to be a father or try to control and dominate in their families.

Some men believe that a father's role is like an angry bear — he protects and disciplines the wayward spouse and children. Through the grace of the Caring Dads curriculum and the fact that many of our men have been referred by probation secondary to domestic violence charges, we have an incredible opportunity to intervene on that sort of thinking and belief system. The opportunity to impact generations directly has presented itself to us. We hope to help create a legacy of love, boundaries and balance!

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

We just began our first fatherhood focused parenting group two weeks ago, so we have no recent stories of success. In the past we have repeatedly seen success in our endeavors when men begin to take responsibility for their actions and heal their relationships with their significant others. Once their relationships improve, they often begin to talk about bringing in their children or wife/girlfriend, etc., to meet us. We take this as an initial sign that they are moving toward healthy relationships and we love being a part of that process!

 

Colorado Dads Homepage Poll — What Do Visitors Think?

In August 2009, the Colorado Dads website was updated to make room for a new component — an interactive poll. On a regular basis, this poll is updated to highlight relevant fatherhood issues and solicit feedback from dads on how they interact with their children.

Twelve polls have been added to the site since August 2009. Here are a few highlights of the responses we've received:

  • The poll question with the highest number of votes was Do you believe that there is a father absence crisis in the United States today? with 179 responses. Sixty-three percent of respondents strongly believe that there is a father absence crisis in our country.
  • Another interesting poll question for visitors to the Colorado Dads site was In your opinion, should federal or state resources be used to fund services to help men become better fathers? Eighty-one percent of respondents believe that federal and/or state resources should be used to help fathers become more engaged in their children's lives.
  • Not surprisingly, 75 percent of respondents to Would you accept slower career advancement to spend more time with your family? would accept it in a heartbeat.
  • And in encouraging news, 58 percent of respondents to our current poll, How often do you read with your children? read to their kids every day.

Stay tuned for more thought-provoking questions on the poll in the coming months. Do you have a specific topic that could be added to the Colorado Dads homepage poll? Send your thoughts to Maggie Spain at maggie@morethanpr.com.

 

 

Coping with Divorce

Written By: Brett Zachman, founder of Be Men, www.bemen.org

The sting of divorce has the potential to negatively impact a father’s relationship with his children. But if handled well, dads can overcome divorce and remain positively connected to their kids.

Divorce by definition is, “A complete or radical severance of closely connected things.” Death and divorce are listed in the top five most stressful life experiences. Although it may feel like it, divorce does not (and should not) kill anyone. Divorce is an ending, but with strings attached. Strings such as: children, friends, family, house, money, etc. 
 
The challenges of divorce are numerous. During my personal transition I found the following ideas a great help in overcoming these challenges.  I suggest, first and foremost, that you become your own “best friend”. It sounds soft, but it’s about “loving yourself”.  If you can’t love yourself, you can’t be there for your kids either.

Emotional - Separation Anxiety
When I moved out I was “emotionally numb”. I did not cry one tear when I packed my things and left.  Big boys don’t cry — right? Denying your emotions leads to dysfunction! Did you know that approximately 19.1 million American adults ages 18 to 54 in any given year have an anxiety disorder?  Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States today. Divorce can definitely make one anxious and play with your emotions. 

Financial - Martyrdom
I thought being a man was taking on hardship. Protect your family at all costs. But placing others’ needs above your own can sometimes create dysfunction in the forms of bitterness, frustration and resentment. In the area of finances, by all means be responsible to assist your family, but also weigh into the equation your new needs to live in a separate household.

Mental - Depression
I am an extrovert; thus living and working alone was emotionally and mentally challenging to me. No matter how “wounded” you feel, do NOT isolate yourself physically or socially. Keep in touch with family and friends and look for new healthy ways to meet your social needs. Did you know that depression is projected to be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020?

Physical - Fatherhood
Raising my sons via joint custody (50/50 schedule) is a challenge. In my situation child rearing has been a learned skill set. This statistic defines how many men are choosing not to participate:  Almost 25 million of the nation’s children live without any involvement with their biological fathers. (August 2007, National Fatherhood Initiative) It was imperative to me to fulfill my role of being a dad and not walk away from my sons.

 

 

November Featured Father — Jarvis Green

Jarvis Green, former New England Patriots and Denver Broncos defensive end and father of three, is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads website. Jarvis enjoys driving through the city with the windows down on Thursdays with his children so that they can “watch the world move” and strives to always have enough energy to keep up with his kids!

What is the best part of being a dad?

It’s watching my kids grow up and seeing how they adjust to things in their cycle of life. Every time they do something it reminds me of my younger days and that sits with you for the rest of your life. I know one day they will be adults and I’ll utter that timeless response, "Where did the time go! They grow up so fast."

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

The most inspiring "moments" are telling my three rug rats that I love them every day. When I was a kid I didn't have too many of those from my dad.

 

FRED Reading Logs Due

If you or a father you work with participated in the Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) program this month, be sure to complete your reading logs and pre and post-program surveys. Completed reading logs can be e-mailed to info@coloradodads.com, faxed to 303.866.5488 or mailed to the following address:

Dan Welch
Colorado Department of Human Services
1575 Sherman Street, 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80203

Fathers who submit their completed reading logs will be entered into a drawing to win gift certificates to local bookstores. FRED materials will remain on the Colorado Dads website throughout the year for individuals and programs that would like to participate in the program during other months.

 

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 fatherhood and family specialist Dan Welch, is updated on a regular basis. Recent topics include "A Time of Wonderment", "Safe Harbor" and "Dads and Youth Athletics". Become a subscriber of the blog and you will receive automatic e-mail announcements when it is updated.

Check out the Be There for Your Kids Facebook page for all things related to fatherhood. We encourage you to "Like" this page and comment on fatherhood news articles and notes as we increase our number of followers. Be sure to also check out our YouTube channel for the latest campaign videos.

 

Upcoming Events

Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
1:00 p.m.
The Bawmann Group, Denver

The Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence (CMADV) campaign meets each month to discuss current campaign activities, partnership opportunities and brainstorm ideas to further engage men in the fight against violence. Contact Tyler Osterhaus at osterhtj@co.weld.co.us for more information.

2010 Thunderbolt Holiday Invitational
December 21 – 22, 2010
1:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Manuel High School, Denver

Celebrate the holidays with high school basketball as the Manual High School Thunderbolts continue back on the road to notoriety! Come and watch Colorado's famous basketball team and donate a new toy for children & teens of battered women. This event is sponsored by the Lowry Family Center.

 

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 meeting on the first Wednesday of every month in Pueblo or Cañon City for lunch, encouragement and 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:
. . .

Text DADS or PADRE to 72727 to win free tickets to the December 4th Colorado Mammoth game!

Free tickets to the December 1st Colorado State University vs. Drake men's basketball game

Free admission to the Denver Children's Museum

Free admission to the Denver Firefighter's Museum

A free gift basket from HappyBaby
Food.com

. . .


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 website, 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 Contacts:

Dan Welch
Fatherhood Specialist
Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division
303.866.3808
Email

Mary Roberto
Manager, Program Development and System Innovation Section
Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division
303.866.2641
Email

The Bawmann Group Contacts:

(regarding the public awareness campaign materials – website, 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