Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • Be There for Your Kids Campaign Participates in White House Conference
  • Register Today for Connecting the Dots 2 Conference
  • Re-Entry Resources for Fathers Offered through the Colorado Department of Corrections
  • Program Spotlight
  • Back to School Tips for Colorado Dads and Kids
  • August Featured Father
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

 

Be There for Your Kids Campaign Participates in White House Conference

Colorado fatherhood representatives with Ben O’Dell, deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Colorado fatherhood representatives with Ben O’Dell, deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

On Wednesday, July 27th, numerous representatives from Colorado fatherhood programs, the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative and the Be There for Your Kids campaign were invited to attend the Connecting Communities for the Common Good conference at the Colorado Convention Center. Hosted by the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, this conference brought together more than 500 faith and community leaders to participate in workshops led by various departments across the federal government and explore partnership opportunities to strengthen Colorado communities. The conference plenary session included a keynote address from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and a roundtable discussion with Colorado faith leaders.

The Connecting Communities for the Common Good conference concluded with a roundtable discussion on responsible fatherhood. Here, Colorado representatives provided an overview of the work being done with fathers in our state to Joshua Dubois, director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and other White House representatives. In turn, these individuals were able to shed light on the administration’s commitment to responsible fatherhood programming and potential future funding opportunities through the federal government.

Responsible fatherhood is an important component of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Through this department, President Barack Obama has established the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. This Initiative includes resources posted on the Fatherhood.gov website, activities taking place across the country to recognize responsible, involved fathers and the President’s Fatherhood Pledge. By signing this online pledge, individuals will receive updates, tips and resources from fatherhood organizations, prominent dads and other supporters of responsible fatherhood around the nation. Sign President Obama’s fatherhood pledge here.

It was truly an honor to be able to share the great work that’s taken place in Colorado in connecting with and serving fathers over the past five years with several key White House leaders.

 

Connecting the Dots 2: Engaging Men as Allies in Ending Violence Against Women

The Be There for Your Kids and Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence campaigns are thrilled to partner with a variety of organizations in Colorado and Wyoming to host the second annual Connecting the Dots, Connecting Communities conference on Tuesday, September 27th in Greeley. Often viewed as a “women’s issue”, getting buy-in from men to acknowledge their responsibility in ending gender violence has traditionally been met with resistance and defensiveness. During this conference, we will explore the history of men’s movements in taking a stand against violence against women and girls. Concepts of masculinity and healthy relationships will also be presented along with how programs should use the Community Accountability Model to mobilize men locally. Most importantly, this conference will give participants an opportunity to network with anti-violence advocates and allies from across Colorado.

Keynote presenters for the Connecting the Dots 2 conference include representatives from Men Stopping Violence and the National Organization of Men Against Sexism.

Registration is limited to the first 100 participants. Free lunch and parking will be provided. Please join us!

 

Re-Entry Resources for Fathers Offered through the Colorado Department of Corrections

Studies show that when ex-offenders have the support of family, friends and the community, recidivism rates decline significantly. To address this issue, the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) has developed a program that assists parolees with their reintegration into the community. The Community Reintegration Program provides a variety of services to parolees including job placement and housing assistance. DOC employees also provide job skills building through resume and cover letter development as well as interview techniques. Depending on how long a parolee was incarcerated, the proper way to conduct oneself during an interview or develop a resume may be very different than what they remember. DOC also works with local employers to inform them of the tax credits available for hiring ex-offenders in order to increase the number of job openings for program participants.

Other services offered through the Community Reintegration Program include one-on-one mentoring, fatherhood classes, case management to help with Child Support orders, tattoo removal and guidance for those looking remove themselves from gangs. Participation in this program isn’t mandatory, but DOC officials have observed high participation and compliance rates since its inception.

To learn more about the DOC Community Reintegration Program, please contact Stuart Rathman.

 

Program Spotlight — Be A Man! (BAM) Fatherhood Program — Evans

Written by Doug Huber, program administrator

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

Be A Man! (BAM) is a mentoring based and relationship oriented fatherhood program. We meet every Saturday and on the first and third Thursday of every month as a group to review the Quenching the Father Thirst curriculum and/or discuss a life skill activity. Throughout the year, we offer life skills content with an emphasis on how that relates to being a great dad for your children. It also includes such components as how to manage money, managing romantic relationships, communication skills, etc. At these meetings we provide food, child care and transportation.

The program also has mentors who meet with dads individually throughout the month to review the previous lesson, work through some life issues, provide a listening ear, develop a friendship and help the father begin to set goals.

We periodically host large group activities to bring all of the dads together for an afternoon or evening of friendship and fun. A 13-week financial curriculum "Foundations In Personal Finance" is also offered on an ongoing basis and open to the entire family. We believe that a solid financial foundation is important in family dynamics especially for fathers who should be financially supporting their children.

2. Do you have any lessons learned about providing services to fathers over the past five years?

Change is not always easy and I have a tendency to want to keep things as they are — If it isn’t broke why fix it? The dilemma is that we all too often don’t see a problem that is right in front of us.

This is also a trend I see among the fathers that participate in our program. Most are struggling to be a great dad and provider for their kids. They are willing to look for answers to make changes, but putting a plan into action is often a slow process. No matter how bad their situation is they strongly believe they can be the best dad possible for their children. The services we provide must then be easy to access and have the ability to make an impact on the lives of the fathers we serve as soon as possible so dads can clearly see the positive results.

3. Describe at typical day at B.A.M!

Most days are spent in front of dads talking about their kids. It is important that they know they are not alone and that there are many services available to help improve their situation. Many dads do want to discuss their lives and learn how they can improve their familial relationships. Often, they will bring up a particular parenting issue in a group session and are then supported by another dad who has gone through a similar situation. We will typically conduct one-on-one mentoring sessions with the dad to talk about the issues brought up in group so that we can direct him to available services.

4. What is the best part about working with dads?

It is always a pleasure to see the joy in a dad’s eyes when he has gained the confidence to be there for his kids. To know that regardless of his current situation he can accomplish goals and he can love his kids unconditionally. A man can give his child love and structure, but a dad can provide his child with a lifetime bond that will be passed on to future generations.

5. Share father or program success story with us.

This story is both bitter and sweet. One of our dads who attended the program came a few times, stopped and then started back up again several months later. He began to share his story in the fatherhood group. He felt that his wife and kids did not look to him with respect as a father. He’d brought his wife and children to a previous group meeting and it was apparent that this was true.

Not being respected by his family was a big struggle. As time went on this father learned many skills in the group sessions and his participation increased while he put into practice what he learned. Soon this dad's whole attitude changed as he grew more confident in the person he was becoming. His wife and kids also showed him love and respect like never before. It was a real pleasure to see happiness come from everyone in the family.

During the last group session this father attended, he made this statement in front of everyone, “I just realized that tonight, I became a man.” Tragically, two weeks later he passed away. But before he did, he truly transformed himself into the dad he had always wanted to be for his three kids. He is greatly missed.

 

Back to School: Tips for Colorado Dads and Kids to Ease the Transition

Kendall Davis

As children dread the end of summer, Colorado dads can prepare to make the transition into the new school year as seamless as possible for the entire family. The steps dads take to prepare their children today can last long into the academic year and play an important role in improving their kids’ academic performance, helping them connect with peers and ensuring their safety at school. With the summer sunlight fading fast, Colorado dads are encouraged to take the steps necessary to make their children’s school year as successful as possible.

“Now is the perfect time for fathers to renew their commitment to being involved in every aspect of their children’s education,” said Dan Welch, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Children living in father-absent homes are more likely to experience educational, health and behavioral problems, are twice as likely to drop out of school and are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school than their father-present peers. A father’s involvement in his children’s education now is crucial to their success later in life.”

 

August Featured Father — Jim Schneider


Sterling resident and father of two, Jim Schneider, is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads website. Jim loves to play the guitar and having his daughters come onto the bandstand to watch him perform was one of his most inspiring moments as a dad. He is also a past participant in the Family Resource Center fatherhood program in Sterling.

What does fatherhood mean to you?

Fatherhood means being a stable friend to my children, someone who is always available when they need an adult to talk to.

Describe your funniest moment as a dad.

I can’t describe one single moment, but you can never underestimate how much a child can make you laugh!

 

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

Weaving a Healing Voice Conference
September 16, 2011
Denver Indian Family Resource Center

The topics covered at this training event will include a historical context of violence against native men and women; myths and facts about domestic violence in Indian Country; how domestic violence is viewed within native culture; and a panel discussion with elders discussing the realities of domestic violence in Indian Country. Register today! This training is limited to 35 participants.

Absent Documentary Screening
September 29, 2011
Two screening opportunities: 6:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
The Abbey Theatre, Durango

Absent is a groundbreaking documentary from critically acclaimed director Justin Hunt that showcases the impact of father absence around the world. The film examines the theory that disengaged fathers are leaving a mark that will forever reshape the future of our planet. Director Justin Hunt will participate in a question and answer session following each screening in Durango. This screening event should not be missed!

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Kinship Providers Conference October 15, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Margaret W. Carpenter Recreation Center, Denver

The focus of the 2011 Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Kinship Providers Conference is the evolution of communication. Breakfast, lunch and limited child care will be provided. Cost: $5 for adults, $3 for children.


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 two tickets to the Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals game on Sunday, September 18th!

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