Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • Be There for Your Kids Celebrates Father's Day 2011
  • Announcing – The 2011 Be There for Your Kids Awards Winners
  • Program Spotlight
  • New Highlights of the Responsible Fatherhood Evaluation Report
  • Fatherhood Programs in their Communities
  • June Featured Father – Celebrating Five Years of Responsible Fatherhood in Colorado
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

 

Be There for Your Kids Celebrates Father's Day 2011

The Be There for Your Kids campaign celebrates Colorado dads year-round, but in June, we take our efforts to the next level in recognition of Father's Day. Thanks to the support of numerous fathers, children, fatherhood practitioners and fatherhood programs, Father's Day 2011 was incredibly successful. We participated in a variety of community events this year to help build awareness of Colorado fatherhood programs and the importance of responsible fatherhood.

Get Outdoors Day Colorado – Saturday, June 11th
A bright and sunny day greeted the Be There campaign and the Administration for Children and Families, Region VIII, on June 11th at the annual Get Outdoors Day celebration at City Park in Denver. Hundreds of dads and kids made buttons, participated in such activities as tug of war, jump rope and beanbag toss and received information on local fatherhood resources at our booth.



Denver Television Call-Ins
Each Father's Day, fatherhood practitioners and Families First Support Line volunteers assist the Be There campaign by volunteering at local television call-ins. The campaign hosted three call-ins this year, one at 7News (Denver's ABC affiliate) on June 14th, one at FOX31/CW2 bright and early on June 16th and one at 9News (Denver's NBC affiliate) the afternoon of June 16th.  Volunteers answered calls from more than 170 concerned viewers during these call-ins. Questions ranged from custody and parenting time problems to child support order modification issues and resources for job readiness training or employment placement. We also took a few questions from Facebook during the 9News call-in!

Colorado Rapids Post-Game Celebration – June 18th
The Be There for Your Kids Awards winners received a special treat this year. On Saturday, June 18th, the Colorado Rapids invited them onto the field as part of a post-game recognition ceremony with the Rapids mascots. The Rapids weren't able to pull out a win against the LA Galaxy that night, but everyone had a great time at the game.



Colorado Springs Sky Sox Celebrate Father's Day – June 20th
Thanks to volunteers from the Center on Fathering who passed out campaign and fatherhood program information to the largest Sky Sox crowd of the year on Father's Day! Prior to the start of the game, a former Center on Fathering participant, Keith Hall and his daughter Kiera, were selected to throw out the first pitch.

Father's Day 2011 – My Dad Taught Me Photo/Video Contest
The Be There campaign received dozens of My Dad Taught Me photo and video submissions for our first annual contest. The top four submissions are now featured in a slideshow on the Colorado Dads homepage. The lucky winners of the 2011 contest are Jeremy and Alykah Daniels for their My Dad Taught Me How to Hike image. Congratulations to Jeremy and Alykah who will be attending a Colorado Rockies game together next month!

 

Announcing – The 2011 Be There for Your Kids Awards Winners

The Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative, together with the Colorado Fatherhood Council, created the Be There for Your Kids Awards in 2008 to honor outstanding fathers and fatherhood service in the state. The 10 winners of the 2011 awards include:

Jim Becker – Father of the Year: A father of 14 (!), Jim is also a fatherhood mentor to the dads in the Aurora Mental Health Center fatherhood program. According to his nomination, “Jim lives what he teaches. In addition to having grown children, he has a young daughter. He is a strong role model to his wife's children from her previous marriage. He is a foster father to two sibling groups of three. The children that he cares for have emotional and behavioral issues due to histories of abuse and neglect and he finds the time to parent each of them. This love of his family is contagious to the fathers in the program.”

Somali American Community Center of Colorado – Program of the Year: In 1991, a civil war in Somalia forced millions of people to flee from the cities into the neighboring countries of Ethiopia and Kenya. These refugees experienced extreme hardships including persecution, torture and massacres. The US government, through its refugee resettlement program, resettled thousands of Somalis in the US, including approximately 1,000 families in the Denver metro area. The Somali American Community Center works directly with these refugee fathers and families to build nurturing skills, lead parenting education classes and help connect them to community resources.

Tom Westfall – Outstanding Fatherhood Practitioner: After serving as the Director of the Yuma County Department of Human Services for 28 years, Tom felt as if something was missing when he retired. In early 2010, he began volunteer work for the Family Resource Center's fatherhood program in Sterling. Since that time Tom has increased the number of participants in each class from seven to 25 dads. He has focused his teachings on building empathy, developing parenting tools and preventing child abuse. One of the ways Tom has succeeded in his work is by being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for his dads.

Tyler Osterhaus – Outstanding Fatherhood Leader:
For the past five years, Tyler has been an active member of the Colorado Fatherhood Council, chair of the Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence (CMADV) campaign and a collaborator with the Got Fatherhood? and BAM (Be A Man) fatherhood programs. He is well known throughout the Colorado fatherhood community for his commitment to helping fathers and their children.

Dwayne Meeks – Outstanding Individual Award: Dwayne is the founder of the Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring fatherhood program in Denver. As a PRF grantee, Dwayne has worked with young fathers at Montbello High School and developed the Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) program at Green Valley Elementary School in Denver.

Mariah Poole – Fatherhood Advocate of the Year: The road to launching the Fatherhood Program of Routt County took much time and effort for Mariah. She has truly served as an advocate for fathers in Routt County with the establishment of the only fatherhood program in this area of the state.

Lisa Gonzales and Chris Hinkel – Child Support Employees of the Year: For the last two years, the PRF Initiative has worked diligently to build collaborations and increase father engagement among Child Support and Child Welfare workers. Lisa and Chris, both Child Support technicians with Denver County Human Services, were selected for this award based on their work with fathers participating in the Redeemer Fatherhood Program.

Ann Bruce – Colorado Fatherhood Council Member of the Year: As the chair of the healthy relationships work team, Ann has been a key member of the Fatherhood Council over the past year. She has spearheaded monthly meetings of this work team and built collaborations between healthy relationships grantees and local fatherhood programs.

Weld County Department of Human Services – Child Welfare Department of the Year:
Weld County's efforts to create innovative partnerships between child welfare caseworkers, fatherhood programs and healthy relationships grantees have set the county apart from others. By breaking down silos and improving communication, the Department has seen true success in engaging fathers.

 

Program Spotlight — Saint Stephens Missions Church: Boys 2 Men Fatherhood Program — Denver

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

Boys 2 Men serves at-risk fathers in the Denver metro area. Our focus is working with teen fathers. We use the Responsible Fatherhood curriculum to deliver parenting education. Fathers receive such services as parenting and responsible fatherhood education, job readiness training and child support, custody and visitation navigation. We offer these during weekly classes, Saturday workshops and one-on-one case management. Other support services include resource development, non-custody court issues and housing. 

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

Through program services, classes, support services, case management and resources Boys 2 Men strives to promote the following:

  • How fathers can impact their children and their communities in a positive manner.
  • Improved parenting skills.
  • Increased understanding of fatherhood responsibilities.
  • Increased educational achievements among fathers and support given to help them model educational excellence for their children.
  • Fathers owning their role as a parent and being a guiding force in their children's lives.

3. Describe at typical day at Boys 2 Men.

The Boys 2 Men program takes place after school hours at Emily Griffith Opportunity School. Prior to the start of each class, staff meet with participants' counselors to discuss their academic progress. We then come together with the dads to have lunch and discuss how things have gone during the week and over the weekend. The young fathers usually share stories about their kids, activities and their jobs.

Once class begins, we follow the Responsible Fatherhood curriculum to deliver the day's subject. Class closes with a discussion about participants' plans for the rest of the week, the upcoming weekend and when they are going to spend time with their kids. Outside of class, our staff work to get the word out about the program through community outreach efforts, neighborhood canvassing and meetings with other community agencies.

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

Too often fathers are pushed out of their children's lives for whatever reason. The work we are doing focuses on keeping fathers active in their children's lives.

Being able to provide fathers with the tools, skills and confidence to navigate human services systems brings satisfaction to our staff.  A lot of our work is focused on teen dads who come with many teenage issues outside of being a father. The value in the work comes from witnessing the transformation and seeing the pride a dad has when he is with or talks about being with his children.

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

One father that comes to mind is Mike. Mike joined the program last September when he was 17. His daughter was a newborn when he heard about the program from his counselor. Mike sought out the support he needed so he could be there for his daughter. He maintained his job, attended school and participated in our program each week without neglecting his role as a father. What impressed us most about this young father was his determination to face his challenges head on. Mike remained diligent in spending time with his daughter and working on improving his relationship with his daughter's mother. 

In November 2010, Mike completed his GED with high scores. His next goal was to get accepted into the barbering program at Emily Griffith.  He was accepted into the program, but did not receive any financial aid. Again, this was a challenge he did not back down from.

Just a couple of months ago, Mike proudly walked down the school hallway with his beautiful baby girl in his arms. He explained that he was doing well, spending time with his daughter and was now enrolled in the barbering program at Emily Griffith. It's so obvious that Mike loves his child. He is doing what he needs to do to provide her with a stable, secure and loving future.

 

New Highlights of Responsible Fatherhood Evaluation Report

In February 2011, the PRF Initiative announced the release of an initial evaluation report that utilized qualitative and quantitative data to examine the 63 fatherhood programs funded by the PRF Initiative since October 2006; participation of more than 5,000 Colorado fathers in these programs; and the public outreach efforts of the Be There for Your Kids campaign. Following a separate review of Colorado child support and child welfare data, we are excited to announce several additions to this report which show the following:

  • An analysis of several hundred program participants in 2010 revealed an increase of more than 37 percent in child support payments from the time of enrollment to three months after the completion of a fatherhood program. Within the Jefferson County Fatherhood Program specifically, a 62 percent decrease in arrears owed by dads following the completion of the program was achieved.
  • Pre and post-tests of The Center on Fathering (Colorado Springs) dads showed a statistically significant change in participants' ability to be aware of their children's needs and respond appropriately to them.
  • At The Pinon Project (Cortez), tremendous progress was seen in the domains of family functioning and parenting skills among participating fathers.
  • Funded fatherhood programs worked with a very difficult population of fathers during their grant cycles. Fifty-three percent of participants were unemployed at the time of enrollment; 81 percent had criminal backgrounds; and 67 percent had annual household incomes less than $5,000.

 

Click here to read a front-page story on the PRF Initiative, responsible fatherhood in Colorado and this evaluation report that ran in The Denver Post on June 20th.

The complete PRF Initiative evaluation report can be found here.

 

 

Fatherhood Programs in their Communities

Lowry Family Center Hosts 4th Annual Reach 4 Peace Picnic
Written by Troy Grimes, fatherhood program administrator

On Father's Day, Lowry Family Center's Project PROUD Fatherhood Program once again partnered with the Struggle of Love Foundation to bring the 4th Annual Reach 4 Peace Picnic to Silverman Park in northeast Denver. Our goal with this event each year is to provide the community with a safe, fun and informative way to celebrate Father's Day. Together with the Struggle of Love Foundation, we promoted the importance of strengthening families and showcasing positive male involvement.

This year more than 300 kids, families and supporters attended the picnic. A variety of agencies and businesses also had a presence including Walmart, the Department of Human Services, Clayton educational programs and Kids Choice Dental and Vision. Free food was provided and more than 40 children received free dental and vision screenings. Many children also took advantage of the free haircuts given out by T's Derrty Kutz.

In addition to the distribution of fatherhood program information, Project Proud presented awards to men who have represented themselves as men or fathers to be 'PROUD' of in their homes and in our community. Two dads received our fatherhood award. The first, Tyjuan Bennett, is the owner and barber of T's Derrty Kutz & T's Foxxy Salon. For the past three years he has volunteered the services of not only himself but also his employees to cut hair right in the park for free. Tyjuan is a dad who owns a company that features several positive male role models for the community. The second 2011 'PROUD' dad is Thomas Sherratt. Thomas recently completed 12 hours of Project Proud fatherhood programming, which resulted in him receiving custody of his two daughters. He definitely stepped up to become the best dad he could be while going through a divorce.

The 4th Annual Reach 4 Peace Picnic was an incredible success. From face painting, basketball and massages to information distributed on alternative schools, foster care/adoption recruitment and other community activities, attendees were treated to a wonderful day in the sun. We hope to make this event bigger and better every year.  

For more information on the Reach 4 Peace Picnic, please visit www.lowryfamilycenter.org or call 303.307.0718.

The Center on Fathering Celebrates Anniversary
Written by Ken Sanders, program administrator

The Center on Fathering hosted 20 fathers and their families on Saturday, June 25th, to celebrate the Center's 16th anniversary and to thank fathers for all they do to care for their children. This event was held the week after Fathers Day because we knew dads would be busy the week before with their children and families. The Center on Fathering hosted a barbeque and the dads and kids took part in a variety of games and activities. A highlight for the children was the appearance of a fire engine from Colorado Springs Fire Department, Station One.

The Center on Fathering provides programs and services designed to strengthen, encourage and support fathers to be actively and positively involved in the care and development of their children.

 

June Featured Father – Celebrating Five Years of Responsible Fatherhood in Colorado

Since 2007, 44 different fathers have been featured on the Colorado Dads website.  From playing basketball, coaching track, relaying the notes on a keyboard, mentoring young men in the community and organizing tea parties to constructing homemade Halloween costumes every year, these dads deserve the honor of being recognized for their commitment to their children and families. Each father featured on the Colorado Dads site has answered 10 questions about what fatherhood means to him. Do you know the stories of our featured fathers?

 

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 and Vimeo channels 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.

 

Free Weekend Workshop for Couples
Saturday, July 9th and Saturday, July 16th
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Parker, Colorado

Join Peer Assistance Services, a healthy relationships-focused organization, for these free workshops that are designed to help couples achieve their goals in marriage, family and relationships. Breakfast, lunch and completion incentives will be provided as well as reimbursement for childcare.

 

Summer Weekend Camp for Dads and Kids
July 15 – 17th
Silver Cliff Ranch, Colorado

Join the Men of Valor fatherhood program for this exciting weekend of cabin camping for fathers and their children (ages 6 – 18). Two nights of lodging and six meals are included. The weekend will feature lots of activities to choose from including a group campfire on Saturday night. Alan Milacek, US Air Force veteran, and William Cunningham, the dean of students at Valor Christian High School, will serve as keynote speakers.

 

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 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
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790
Email