In This Issue

  • Upcoming Campaign Promotions – The Com-mu'-ni-ca'-tion Game
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Program Spotlight
  • Fatherhood in the Mass Media Survey
  • January's Featured Father
  • Upcoming Events

The Com-mu'-ni-ca'-tion Game

Research continues to show that girls who have fathers who are positively involved in their lives do better in school, are more likely to become confident adults and less likely to become sexually active at an early age. But as teenage girls grow older, many fathers find themselves feeling distanced from their daughters. For those dads who are looking for an opportunity to connect with their daughters, the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative is promoting the Com-mu'-ni-ca'-tion Game during the month of February.

Created by Gary Burns in 1995, the Com-mu'-ni-ca'-tion Game provides dads and daughters with 365 statement cards, which are divided by letters in the alphabet, a journal, two instruction sheets and one straw. The game begins with father and daughter going to a restaurant that begins with or contains the letter corresponding to the packet of cards. During their meal they play the game. Each month another packet is used and another restaurant is chosen. If a father and daughter play the game once a month, they will have enough material to cover more than two years worth of activities.

Throughout February, Colorado dads can purchase the Com-mu'-ni-ca'-tion Game for $24.95, which is $5 off the regular retail price. Dads and daughters will also have an opportunity to experience the game at restaurants throughout the State next month.

 

Taking Steps to Prevent Child Abuse

According to the US Department of Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, there were 9,406 reported victims of child abuse in Colorado out of a child population of 1,180,525 in 2005. Fathers are given an incredible opportunity to shape a life upon the birth of their child, but it’s not an easy job. There are times when dads may feel angry or frustrated, but it is never okay to resort to violence. The newest page on the Colorado Dads Web site can direct fathers to many organizations focused on preventing child abuse.

 

Program Spotlight – The Pinon Project, Cortez

  1. What services do you provide to fathers with your community access grant funding?
    • A two-hour per week (26 weeks; open entry) evening group for fathers following the Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum. Also included is free on-site child care, light snacks and transportation assistance to and from the group meetings. 
    • Four weeks of communication skills training using the Core Communication Curriculum.
    • Case management and support throughout the week.
    • Employment and training assistance.
    • Recreational activities to promote parent/child bonding.
    • Peer support to discuss experiences and work out solutions to problems together.
    While not directly funded by the fatherhood grant, The Pinon Project also provides other services to dads including supervised visitation and exchanges to fathers who participate in the fatherhood program at a greatly reduced rate.

  2. What do you ultimately want to achieve with your program?
    The ultimate goal of our fatherhood program is to help fathers become better partners and parents to their children. We believe that by helping fathers improve their economic status, learn more effective communication skills and ways of managing their children’s behavior they can develop the skills needed to be effective fathers and partners.

  3. Describe at typical day at The Pinon Project Family Resource Center.
    The Pinon Project Family Resource Center is a very busy place. The doors are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. five days a week and there are generally two or more groups scheduled in the evenings, too. An on-site child care center serving 70 children is also available to families. We have a vast array of family programs ranging from family advocacy to early literacy.

    The Responsible Fatherhood Program, one of our newest programs, meets each Wednesday night in our training annex. Transportation to the group is provided to any father who needs it. The sessions start informally with a light snack as most of the fathers are coming to the group from work.  Parents and children share food together before the children are taken to the on-site child care center, which is staffed by our Tree House child care staff.

    Two fatherhood coordinators lead each session. Many of the fathers are struggling to cope and have commented that this program was the first place they have ever felt supported. We believe that part of our job in delivering this program is to give fathers an opportunity to discuss experiences and work out solutions together. The coordinators are available throughout the week to fathers who need assistance with advocacy, employment, parenting, supervised visitation or other needs.

  4. What is the best part about working with fathers?
    The best part about working with fathers is seeing them succeed. When they first start the program, they are unsure of what is happening and who to trust. As we work with fathers, a trust starts to build when they experience and interact with a group of men who have faced the same issues and are supporting each other. Changes are made in their lives and in the way they interact with their children. During the last year, we have witnessed fathers reunited with their children, fathers who were able to move into permanent housing, fathers who regained custody and fathers who increased their involvement with their children.



  5. Share a program/father success story with us.
    Last year, a mother concerned for her 36-year-old son came in and signed him up for the Responsible Fatherhood Program. During the first day of class the father told us his situation.

    He said, “I am a single father. I make $13.00 an hour driving a dump truck.  I have not had a pay raise in eight years.  I have two girls who are 4 and 5.  I am divorced and my ex-wife is using methamphetamines. Currently she has custody of both girls and intends to move to Kentucky with her boyfriend. This is confusing because the girls are with me 65 percent of the time and the mother and I do not agree on how raise them. My girls have no steady routines due to the movement back and forth between parents. Even though I have trouble paying my bills each month, I voluntarily pay $400 a month so that my girls can hopefully be taken care of. I also have a major problem when it comes to relying on their mother to pick up the girls on time so I can go to work. This gets me into a lot of trouble with my boss and hurts me financially. I have come to a point in my life where I really need to make some changes. I also recognize that I need help understanding my girls.  The other day, I could not explain to them that it was not ok for them to walk in the bathroom when I was taking a shower. So, here I am.”

    The father began our program and completed the Core Communication course. His confidence as a father increased and as time passed he gave the class great updates on his situation. His first accomplishment was requesting a pay raise from his boss. He used the skills from the communication course and explained his financial situation and his loyalty to the company. His boss in turn awarded him a $2.00 an hour pay raise.

    Later, the children’s mother informed him that she had a date to move to Kentucky. At this point the father made the decision to go after full custody of the children. The mother turned over custody of the girls and the courts awarded the father $150 a month in child support.

    As a result he needed child care for his girls. He sought help from Montezuma Department of Social Services. The caseworker set him up with low-income child care through the Tree House Learning Center which is the on-site child care center at The Pinon Project.

    The father still faces challenges. He made a typical statement after getting his girls into daycare - I am not letting my girls date until they reach the age of 35. The very next session, he came in shaking his head.  When asked by the group what was bothering him, the father said, “My oldest daughter kissed a boy in daycare.”  After being humbled by the group, he said, “I have a long road ahead of me with these precious girls.”

    Since the father graduated from the course he has moved forward with his daughters in setting up routines for schools, meals and bed time.  He has also seen tremendous changes in his girls’ behavior. And, their mother has moved back to Cortez and is currently maintaining a healthy relationship with the girls.
 

The Pops in Pop Culture Project: Exploring Fatherhood in the Mass Media

From Ward Cleaver to Homer Simpson, fathers in television and film are a fundamental part of our shared cultural experience. These “pop culture pops” have not only entertained us through the years, but have also helped frame our perceptions of the changing face of fatherhood in America. As cultural values shift from one generation to the next so to do we see a new generation of dads come to life on the screen. Are these media created fathers a reflection of changing American values, or are they themselves the instigators of change, altering the course of fatherhood into a new direction?

You are invited to share with us some of your impressions about your favorite (or most despised) fathers in pop culture from film and TV history and the affect they have had on you as either a child or a parent. What fathers inspire you? What fathers make you cringe in disgust? Are you still in denial about Darth Vader being Luke’s father?

 
January’s Featured Father

Kevin Wilson – Mentor – Father of Four

Each month, coloradodads.com is excited to feature both notable and every day Colorado dads. Our featured father for the month of January, Kevin Wilson, spends time with his four children by coaching their basketball games, making silly faces and taking them on great family vacations. Here’s a brief snippet of Kevin’s thoughts on fatherhood:

  • What does fatherhood mean to you?
    To me, fatherhood is the ultimate honor and privilege. To have the opportunity to provide spiritual guidance, love, security and knowledge to not just my own children, but all children I come in contact with, is a gift from God.
  • What is the most important piece of advice you’ve received about fatherhood?
    As an athlete and coach, I’ve always told my players to leave it all on the court. As a parent, you want to make sure you have exhausted yourself and put forth maximum effort into the lives of your children.
 

Upcoming Events

$2 Deal for Dads and Kids at Del Taco

On the last Sunday of every month, five Del Taco locations in the Denver metro area offer dads and their kids two regular tacos and a ½ pound bean and cheese burrito for $2 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This offer is good at the following locations:

  • 7506 Parkway Dr. – Lonetree – 80127
  • 24023 E. Prospect Ave. – Aurora – 80013
  • 50 W. Belleview – Englewood – 80110
  • 5240 S. Wadsworth – Lakewood – 80123
  • 11155 E. Arapahoe Pl. – Centennial – 80012

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 Amy Davis from Lifelong Adult Education Services at 303.573.0839 x107.

Southeast Fatherhood Forum
Held on the last Monday of every month at 1:30 p.m. 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.

Moving Ahead by Leaps and Bounds

2008 Head Start Parent and Staff Conference -  Sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Head Start Association, this is a training conference for parents and staff working with children and families. It will be held February 29-March 1, 2008 at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, CO.

 

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 and Durango Children's Museums.


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).

This line is staffed by trained volunteers at Families First.

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