Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative Releases Evaluation Report
  • Fatherhood Programs in their Communities
  • Program Spotlight
  • Fatherhood in the News
  • Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence — Join the Movement
  • February Featured Father
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

 

Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative Releases Evaluation Report

When Colorado received our five-year federal grant to create the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative in 2006, we set out to develop a comprehensive information management tool that would provide outcomes data for community access funded programs. This was done through a contract with the Lewin Group, an evaluation firm that was also charged with utilizing the tool to report on the outcomes of fatherhood services and the overall results of the Be There for Your Kids public awareness campaign and the PRF Initiative.

For the past five months, the Lewin Group has been drafting this evaluation designed around the following parameters:

  • To describe the programs funded during the five-year period;
  • To describe program implementation, including the organizational structure of the programs, capacity building successes and challenges, community partnerships and strategies for reaching and retaining hard-to-reach populations (e.g., rural fathers), as well as barriers, successes and challenges to program operation; and
  • To document program outputs, including the populations served, the services provided and the levels of participation.

We are excited to announce that both an executive summary and full evaluation report of the PRF Initiative are now available to be downloaded from the Colorado Dads website. The report includes quantitative and qualitative data as well as four spotlights of specific community access funded programs — Jefferson County Office of Child Support Enforcement, The Pinon Project, The Center on Fathering and Rural Solutions.

This report will be utilized at the state level as we seek to find continued funding sources for fatherhood work and promote the need for fatherhood services in Colorado through media coverage. We also encourage individual programs to weave this report into their efforts to establish sustainability in their own communities.

 

Fatherhood Programs in their Communities

Watch D.O.G.S. at Green Valley Elementary School
Written by: Dwayne Meeks, Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring

A great program has recently launched in the northeast Denver community for children at Green Valley Elementary School in order to encourage paternal engagement. It's called Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) and it's a father involvement initiative developed by the National Center for Fathering. The program organizes fathers and father figures to provide positive male role models for students and to enhance school security. The goal of the program is to help every school in America be positively influenced by the committed involvement of fathers and father figures in lives of their students.

On January 25th, 2011, Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring held a second semester Watch D.O.G.S. kick-off event called "Donuts with Dad". More than 60 students brought their fathers to school for a continental breakfast where they watched a 10-minute presentation about Watch D.O.G.S. and talked about the importance of father involvement inside the school. As a result, every father who attended signed up to volunteer and participate in the program.

Watch D.O.G.S. invites fathers and father figures to volunteer at least one full day at their child's school during a school year. Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring provides oversight for the program by coordinating volunteer schedules and identifying opportunities for Watch D.O.G.S. volunteers to provide assistance at the school. Watch D.O.G.S. volunteers perform a variety of tasks during their volunteer day including monitoring the school entrance, assisting with unloading and loading of buses and cars, monitoring the lunch room or helping in the classroom under a teacher's guidance by working with small groups of students on homework, flashcards or spelling words. The Green Valley Elementary School administration, staff and teachers have welcomed this program with open arms.

It should not be solely a teacher's responsibility to educate our children. Parents are their children's first teacher and we should not ease up just because they are in school. A father's time is valuable especially in encouraging achievement in school, supporting reading and writing achievement and striving for the freedom that comes with getting a quality education. Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring encourages fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles and male role models to come out and support their community, their school and be there for their kids.


Photo courtesy of the National Center for Fathering.

To learn more about the national Watch D.O.G.S. program, please visit www.fathers.com.

Pueblo Touchdown Dads - Empowerment Club
Written by Linda Perkins, Christlife Ministries

Christlife Ministries, a PRF Initiative community access funded program, kicked off its 2011 fatherhood support group at half time on Super Bowl Sunday. The program received a number of inquires leading up to the game. Most of the guys wanted to let us know they were all in, but they had Super Bowl parties of their own to host. Several said they would try to come at half time. After receiving three to five inches of snow the night before, we weren't really expecting anyone to leave one party to join another, especially to hear a presentation about helping dads! But one guy did show up right at half time. That truly made my night. It didn't matter who won the game.

We had eight people total in attendance including myself, my husband Jerome and our son. Two dads/father figures also brought their kids. All in all, we had such a great discussion that we missed the first second half touchdown! We had great snacks, door prizes and a lot of fun. Our follow-up after the event will include a letter to everyone who expressed interest in the group asking for questions, comments and concerns. We will be looking for suggestions on dates, times, format, activities, etc.

Kroenke Sports donates suite at the February 7th Nuggets game for fathers and their children

On Monday, February 7th, 10 Colorado fathers and their children received a special treat — free tickets to the Denver Nuggets vs. Houston Rockets game. In order to recognize the commitment these fathers made to become more involved in their children's lives by participating in local fatherhood programs, Kroenke Sports took their donation a step further. The selected fathers and children watched the game from a suite at the Pepsi Center, complete with free food and drinks! While the Nuggets weren't able to pull out a win on February 7th, this was a great opportunity for fathers and their children to spend quality time together.

 

Program Spotlight — Men of Valor — Denver

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

We provide an ongoing Inside/Out Dad class to the inmates at the Douglas County Jail (Christensen Justice Center) in Castle Rock. This facility houses 300 plus inmates. We also offer a Nurturing Fathers class to non-incarcerated fathers and a Marriage Garden relationship building class to couples in the community.

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

Men of Valor wants to continue offering these or similar fatherhood courses to fathers in our community who are prison/jail inmates, parolees and those on probation.

3. Describe a typical day for Men of Valor at the Christensen Justice Center.

Each Inside/Out Dad fatherhood session lasts up to two and a half hours. Videos and music are utilized to capture the attention of participants. Men of Valor offers hopefulness to this population that has often been viewed as outcasts and treated accordingly. We provide dignity, respect, acceptance, forgiveness, awareness and reality. We challenge these men to change from the "inside out" and to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their children.

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

It is a blessing to be a blessing. The men we work with have made some wrong choices and poor decisions. Most often these men were denied the presence of their own fathers in their formative years. They are "flying blind" in the fatherhood arena. They may be viewed or even view themselves as the untouchables and outcasts in society. Steel doors slam shut day and night for them in prison and often in society following their release.

The fields are ripe for a harvest of needed change. Some imprisoned fathers are living the seemingly never ending horrors of an existence as "debtor's prisoners" having fallen behind in support payments, yet they only earn about 50 cents a day as a prisoner. Men of Valor and other prison programs offer these men a lifeline of hope. Being the purveyors of hope is win/win.

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

Jim Randolph and I, Steven Newell, program administrator, visited Jerome and Linda Perkins from Christlife Ministries at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Center in Ordway, Colorado recently. We learned what commitment to fathers in prison really means. One group there - nine inmates, all "lifers without parole" - were filled with purpose, enlightenment and hope. They shared a common goal of reaching out to other inmates with their new learning and hopeful message. Hats off to you, Jerome and Linda Perkins!

 

Fatherhood in the News

Over the last few weeks, the news media has focused an increased amount of coverage on fatherhood, father absence and community solutions right here in Colorado. We've also seen coverage of the important role fathers can play in their daughters' lives this month. Here is a brief synopsis of articles and broadcast stories you may have missed.

Proud father embraces responsibility

For every three kids in America, one does not live with his or her biological father. Sort of takes your breath away when you think about it.

The total number, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' 2009 census data, is about 25 million kids in this country. There probably is a sadder number out there somewhere, but let us move on.

Better, let me tell you the story of Richard Jama.

Touchdown Dads

Pastor Jerome Perkins is looking for a few good dads. Football expertise isn't necessary, but a love of the game would be helpful. A passion for kids and a desire to help young fathers, however, is essential.

Perkins, founder of Pueblo's Christlife Ministries, hopes to start a local chapter of Touchdown Dads Fatherhood Empowerment Club, a national mentoring program for young fathers who want to be good dads but don't know how.

Learning to be a father

It was just as much of a surprise to Christopher Johnston II, as it was to anyone, when his 16-year-old girlfriend told him she was pregnant.

"What did I think? I thought 'I have to keep my job,'" he said of his 30-hour-a-week schedule, which drops down to 20 hours during basketball season because Christopher is a point guard for Manual High School. The new father is a high school senior.

"I used to buy a lot of clothes and shoes. But [baby] formula is $20 a can," the 18-year-old said, expressing the need to save up his money for his son, Christopher Johnston III. "The baby comes first."

Christopher's girlfriend, 16-year-old Zhante Hubbard, is grateful that their son has an active father.

"I didn't have a dad," she said. "I'm happy he's here."

Dads, Daughters and Valentine's Day

According to a 2003 study by the Journal of Child Development, teen girls in father absent homes are twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to become pregnant as an adolescent. Paternal involvement sets girls up for success later in life. Valentine's Day is a perfect time to celebrate father/daughter relationships because a daughter's first relationship with a man is the one she has with her father.

On Saturday, February 12th, Tyler Osterhaus from the Weld County Department of Human Services and Jennifer Morganto, fatherhood program specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, were interviewed by 7News (Denver's ABC affiliate) and 9News (Denver's NBC affiliate) respectfully on this important topic. The two shared tips for fathers to use to better communicate with their daughters and gave their perspective on the impact a positive paternal relationship can have on a girl's adolescent development.

 

Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence — Join the Movement

It is estimated that more than five million American women are victimized by an intimate partner each year. Domestic violence is a critical issue. Men of all ages - including fathers - can play a significant role in engaging other men in the fight against domestic violence. Colorado has addressed this issue head on since the beginning of the PRF Initiative in October 2006 through the establishment of collaborative relationships between local fatherhood programs and domestic violence service providers, training sessions on curricula designed for fathers who may have abusive histories (Caring Dads) and active participation in conversations and community conferences focused on domestic violence.

In 2008, the PRF Initiative took our commitment to ending violence a step further with the launch of the Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence (CMADV) campaign. The CMADV campaign encourages men to sign a pledge of commitment to take a visible stand against domestic violence. The CMADV pledge is a promise to speak out about domestic violence and intervene in any violent circumstances that men see happening around them. In addition to this pledge, the CMADV campaign provides a variety of online education tools focused on developing positive masculinity and coaching boys in the fight to end violence.

Because of Colorado's efforts to develop strong working relationships between fatherhood programs and domestic violence service providers, the U.S. Department of Human Services, Office of Family Assistance has asked us to host a special site exchange in March. This visit will bring three to four different fatherhood programs from around the country that are seeking to grow their relationships with domestic violence collaborators to our state. Key representatives from the PRF Initiative will present an overview of our model and the development of the CMADV campaign. We look forward to beginning this dialogue!

 

February Featured Father — Kevin Crumley

Colorado Springs resident Kevin Crumley is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads website. A father of four, Kevin enjoys sharing every day moments with his children that turn into family traditions and modeling his own life based on what he teaches his kids. Kevin was the recipient of the 2010 Be There for Your Kids Father of the Year award in June 2010.

What kind of dad do you strive to be?

Consistent and loving. It is normal for my wife and I to participate in each child's activities — school, sports and church. Be there for your children. It shows them that you love them.

What is the most important piece of advice you've received about fatherhood?

Believe that God has equipped you to do everything needed to parent. There are times when you may not feel able, but you must choose to believe you are able and act in your children's best interests.

Click here to read a profile on Kevin Crumley from the June 18, 2010 issue of The Denver Post.

 

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 "My Daughter", "Quote, Unquote" and "A New Year." Become a subscriber of the blog and you will receive automatic e-mail announcements when it is updated.

We are also seeking submissions for our Watercooler blog. As a fatherhood program administrator, what do you like best about working with fathers? How has the field of fatherhood services changed since the start of the PRF grant in 2006? Or, as a father, what issues are you currently facing as a parent? How can we relate fatherhood to the concerns impacting our world today?

All submissions should be 500 words or less and can be sent to Maggie Spain. Following review, the submissions will be considered for inclusion on the Colorado Dads Watercooler Blog.

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 Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Webinars
2nd Tuesday of each month
1:30 — 3:00 p.m.

Throughout fiscal year 2010/2011 the Colorado PRF Initiative will host a series of Webinars aimed at providing technical assistance to agencies and programs conducting fatherhood work across the state. Community access program grantees are highly encouraged to attend.

Safe at Home: Addressing Issues of Family Violence Conference
March 31, 2011
University of Northern Colorado
8:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.

The Safe at Home: Addressing Issues of Family Violence conference, co-sponsored by and held at the University of Northern Colorado, provides an opportunity for professionals and community members with an interest in family violence to come together to identify ways to change how our community responds to this issue.

Conference Goals

  • Identify problems with current practices
  • Identify promising approaches for working with victims and offenders
  • Identify feasible changes to current practices that can help victims and offenders
  • Create an action plan and workgroups to carry forward the ideas generated by the conference working sessions
  • Disseminate resource information and action plan
 

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 Tuesday, March 22nd Colorado Avalanche game!

Free night skiing and tubing for two at Granby Ranch.

Free admission to the Denver Children'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