Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • Be There for Your Kids Campaign Celebrates Father's Day 2011
  • My Dad Taught Me Photo/Video Contest
  • Program Spotlight
  • Fatherhood Programs in their Communities
  • May Featured Father
  • Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence — Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

 

Be There for Your Kids Campaign Celebrates Father's Day 2011

The Be There campaign is looking forward to celebrating Colorado dads in the weeks leading up to Sunday, June 19th. We'll start with a booth at Colorado Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, June 11th from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at City Park in Denver. Together with the Administration for Children and Families, Region VIII, our booth will feature games for families and children as well as tips for dads to use to get outdoors with their kids this summer.

Throughout the week of June 13th, campaign volunteers will be manning the phone lines at four different television call-ins. Whether the questions are about child support payments, custody or potty training, volunteers will be able to connect callers to available resources in the community. The television call-in schedule includes:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
7News (KMGH) Denver

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Time TBA
NBC 11 News (KKCO) Grand Junction

Thursday, June 16, 2011
7:00 - 9:00 a.m.
FOX 31 (KDVR) Denver 

Thursday, June 16, 2011
3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
9News (KUSA) Denver

On Saturday, June 18th, winners of the 2011 Be There for Your Kids Awards will be recognized at the Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park at 7:00 p.m. The Rapids have also created a special offer for all Colorado dads to attend this game with their children. This special offer includes two tickets to the June 18th game and a photo with the MLS cup for $40. Click here to learn more.

And on Sunday, June 19th, the Be There for Your Kids campaign will be recognized with a special PA announcement prior to the start of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox game at 1:05 p.m. in Colorado Springs. Volunteers will also be on hand distributing local fatherhood program and campaign information to attendees. Visit www.skysox.com to purchase your tickets to the game and be sure to arrive early for the 50-cent hot dogs!

 

Father's Day 2011 Photo/Video Contest — My Dad Taught Me

My dad taught me…how to run, to jump, to read, to drink tea, to laugh, to always do my best!

Father's Day 2011 will take place in just a few weeks, which means dads and kids are making plans for games, hikes, camping trips and more fun activities to do together. There's still time to share your memories of activities like these by participating in the Be There for Your Kids My Dad Taught Me contest.

Fathers and families are encouraged to submit photos or videos of themselves teaching their children a new skill or a family participating in their favorite activity together for this contest. Select photos and videos will appear on the Colorado Dads website the week of Father's Day 2011. The father and his child/children who submit the most unique photo or video will receive free tickets to a Colorado Rockies game this summer!

Here's how you can submit your photos/videos:

Photos — Send jpg files (5 MB or smaller) to info@coloradodads.com or post them on the Be There for Your Kids Facebook page.
Videos — Each video submitted must be two minutes or less in length. There are three ways you can submit a video for this contest.

Photos and videos must be submitted by noon on Friday, June 10th. Questions? Contact Maggie Spain. We can't wait to see what Colorado dads and their kids come up with!

 

 

Program Spotlight — Christlife Ministries — Pueblo

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

Christlife Ministries provides classes for incarcerated men in Colorado state prison facilities using the Inside Out Dad curriculum from the National Fatherhood Initiative.

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

We are trying to change the attitudes of incarcerated men and their families regarding their ability to remain part of their children's lives while they are behind prison walls. When we first started this program, it was amazing to us that these dads thought it best that their children have no contact with them while they're incarcerated. We have been able to show them that dads and their children benefit from maintaining and improving their relationships while a father is incarcerated. Also, relationships with the “baby mama” can improve regardless of whether they remain romantically involved or not. 

3. Describe at typical day at Christlife Ministries.

Since our program is held inside prison facilities in southeast Colorado, our day begins fairly early. Often we are on the road traveling to classes by 6:00 a.m. One facility is an hour east of our office and another is two hours south. Fortunately, the other facility we provide services in is only 10 blocks west of the office. However, that class is on Saturday mornings. 

Upon arrival at a facility, the sign in procedure is initiated. At most facilities, the rule is “nothing in, nothing out.” We are allowed to bring in DVDs of current movies to replace the personal illustrations that we are not allowed to divulge to offenders. However, we do not bring in snacks, decorations or props to enhance our class. Offenders have prepared their homework for each class and are eager to share what they are learning. Interestingly, this was something we were told would not happen when we first began working in the prisons. 

During each lesson, Dr. Jerome Perkins uses DVDs, poems and activities to illustrate the topic of the week. One main rule is “Your answer is your answer.”  Offenders are discouraged from trying to answer questions with the “right” answer. This approach usually leads to a lively discussion where real emotions and unpopular answers come out. While no answers are considered “wrong,” the offender is required to justify his answer to the class. After class, all materials must be packed up and taken out of the facility. Then the long ride back home or to the office begins. On days when classes are not taking place, the paperwork, MIS updating and preparation for the next class are completed.

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

The best part about working with incarcerated fathers is that this class seems to bring a bit of normalcy back into their lives. It helps them reconnect with their families and feel “human” again. It is very gratifying to see a man's self-esteem restored. Studies have shown that ex-offenders who have family ties are much less likely to re-offend. Knowing that we may have made an impact on whether or not a man returns to prison makes the sacrifices and travel worthwhile.

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

Because our clients are incarcerated, often the mother of their children has another man in her life, and therefore, the children's lives. We encourage our clients to reach out to the step-fathers and thank them for raising their children while they are not able to be there. 

One of our clients was incarcerated for charges including domestic violence against his ex-wife. His child was only two years old the last time our client had seen her. His ex-wife had cut off all contact between herself, the daughter and the client — with good reason. Over the years, the client came to understand the gravity of his crimes, especially the domestic violence instances and wished to apologize to his ex-wife, who had remarried.  She would not accept his correspondence and no contact with the daughter was allowed. The client wrote letters to his daughter to no avail.

Finally, after five years, the client attended our Inside Out Dad class. He understood the vital role the step-father was playing in his daughter's life. What he didn't know was how confused his daughter was over who she considered to be her “daddy.” When thanking the step-father was suggested, the client wrote a heart-felt letter to him. Within weeks, his ex-wife began bringing his now seven year-old daughter to visit her father. The child appeared conflicted when they were together. Finally, she asked what she should call the client and her step-father. The client graciously said, “Honey, you should call us both DADDY.” Only then did the ex-wife tell our client that the child had been having difficulty in school and was becoming a behavior problem. Since then the client reports that his daughter's grades and behavior have improved dramatically. The whole family is communicating well and the daughter sees our client regularly.

 

Fatherhood Programs in their Communities

Jefferson County Fatherhood Program and the 7th Annual Step Fest
Written by Ray Washington, administrator, Jefferson County Fatherhood Program

Talk about creating lifetime memories…hundreds of fathers were able to do just this for their children on May 21st at Elitch Gardens. The Jefferson County Fatherhood Program, Jefferson High School (Positive SPIN), Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Studio, Jefferson County Human Services Department and Elitch Gardens came together to give hundreds of dads a day to "be there for their kids" at the 7th Annual Step Fest. Nearly 500 tickets were donated to fathers, children and families who are customers of the Jefferson County Department of Human Services. Others were sold at a reduced rate for the purpose of providing the opportunity for children and fathers to have a day at Elitch Gardens.  
 
The Step Fest was hosted by Orion Carrington and featured Denver native and current national performing artist, "Reaux" (Ramone Fisher). The music and dance entertainment took place in Elitch's Arena from noon until 4:30 p.m. There was a variety of free entertainment including a concert, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Studio dance performances, step demonstrations and a step/dance competition between individuals and high schools across the state. The 1st place dance trophy went to RJ Thomas. Northglenn High School (CTX) received 1st place in the Step competition. All event participants were given free access to all of the rides in the park for the entire day. It was a perfect day for children and their fathers to hang out and have fun. They did just that!

Watch D.O.G.S. Program Completes First Successful Year

As the school year comes to a close, Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring is celebrating the first successful year of the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program at Green Valley Elementary School in Denver. Watch D.O.G.S. is a program created by the National Center for Fathering that asks dads to volunteer at their children's school at least one day per year. At Green Valley, volunteers perform a variety of tasks during their volunteer day including monitoring the school entrance; helping load and unload buses and cars before and after school; 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.

“A father's time is valuable especially in encouraging achievement in school, supporting reading and writing and striving for the freedom that comes with getting a quality education,” said Dwayne Meeks, founder of Urban Colors.  We encourage fathers, step fathers, grandfathers, uncles and community role models to support their community, their school and their children by becoming a Watch D.O.G.S. dad.”

Dozens of fathers participated in the Watch D.O.G.S. program at Green Valley during its first year. Urban Colors hopes to double the amount of fathers participating in the upcoming academic year.

To learn more about the Watch D.O.G.S. program, check out this recent story from 9News.

The Center on Fathering Releases New Video

As a leader in providing services to fathers in southeast Colorado for more than 15 years, The Center on Fathering has helped hundreds of dads be there for their kids. To commemorate this and the importance of non-residential fathers being involved in their children's lives, The Center has released a new video featuring interviews from dads, fatherhood program administrators and county human services employees.

 

May Featured Father — Ja'son Wilson

Denver resident and Lowry Family Center fatherhood program participant Ja'son Wilson is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads website. A coach, educator and employee of INVESCO Field, Ja'son enjoys watching movies with his son and being present in every aspect of his life.

What is the hardest part about being a dad?

The hardest part for me is finding balance. As a father, you wear many hats — discipline and guidance included! It's hard for me to discipline my son at times because I still feel so young and remember doing a few of those things myself. 

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

That it's more than a 10-letter word. It's a lifetime commitment that provides eternal rewards.

 

Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Written By Tyler Osterhaus, CMADV Chair

Every April, we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Sexual assault is perhaps something most men don't often think much about, but for fathers this is truly an important issue. April was also coincidently National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Ask any father about what his role as a parent is and one common element is that of protector. When fathers take a stand against sexual assault, and all forms of violence for that matter, they serve to protect not only their communities but their kids as well.

As chair of the Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence (CMADV) campaign, I am proud to share with you some of the work being done on behalf of the Colorado Fatherhood Council. Members of the Council partnered with advocates from the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy (SAVA) Center in Weld and Larimer Counties and the Administration for Children and Families to create a unique document for dads that includes tips and strategies for talking with their kids about scary and often taboo subjects like sexual assault and other forms of abuse. I encourage you to take a look at this great tool and pass it on to any dads you might be working with. You can download the document here.

And as I've taken on a leadership role in my community engaging fathers as well as men and boys about issues they face, I feel like it's important to walk the talk. So I organized a community film showing of the documentary Generation M last month, which explores issues of misogyny in the media. This event also allowed me to partner further with SAVA and the High Plain Library District. Following the film we had a discussion about gender socialization and healthy relationships. Additionally for SAAM I was given the unique opportunity to attend a workshop at Colorado State University held by anti-violence educator and documentary filmmaker, Byron Hurt. Byron is the filmmaker behind the incredible Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes documentary, which is a tool I use in my work with young men in engaging them as allies to end gender violence.

April was an empowering month that enabled me to strengthen my network of allies who are also working to promote healthy relationships and end intimate partner violence. However, we want more fathers and fatherhood practitioners to get involved! If you missed last month's events, there are several things you can do to get involved in June. On June 2nd at 10:30 a.m., a group of men in northern Colorado will meet with Luke Heller who is currently riding his bike across the country to raise awareness of men's work to prevent sexual violence. The meeting will take place at the Longmont Ending Domestic Violence Initiative (225 Kimbark Street, Longmont). More information on Luke's ride can be found at www.ridetoendrape.com. And on June 8th, I'm excited to be co-facilitating a training in Longmont with other men that will teach participants how to engage men and boys around these issues. It will be a great opportunity to learn new tips and tools to promote healthy relationships within fatherhood programs. To learn more about the training click here.

 

 

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. Become a subscriber of the blog and you will receive automatic email 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 Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Webinars
2nd Tuesday of each month
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Throughout fiscal year 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.

 

6th Annual Men in the Mix: Hang with Dad for a Day
Saturday, June 11, 2011
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Montrose County Fairgrounds

Calling all dads, grandpas, uncles, brothers and any other male role models and their children and families.  Don't miss this fun and interactive event - you'll learn, laugh and bond with your children. Plus, you'll learn great tips and tricks to help make yourself a better parent! The Men in the Mix event will feature: food, games, popcorn, dunk tank, scavenger hunt, photos, face painting and much, much more.

 

4th Annual Reach 4 Peace Picnic
Sunday, June 19, 2011
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Silverman Park, Denver

Join the Lowry Family Center and the Struggle of Love Foundation for the fourth annual Reach 4 Peace Picnic! There will be lots of free fun for the entire family including food, music, activities (massages, face painting, games, prizes) a five on five basketball tournament and health and dental screenings.

 

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

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Text DADS or PADRE to 72727 to win free tickets to a Colorado Springs Sky Sox game this summer!

Free passes to JumpStreet Indoor Trampoline Park.

Free admission to Pirates Cove Water Park.

Free passes to the Apex Recreation Center in Arvada.

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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
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)

Maggie Spain
Account Manager
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790
Email