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Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
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January 24, 2008

Dads and Daughters Bring Communication Back

Denver—January 24, 2008—Sometimes the lessons children learn at home can be more important than the lessons they learn in school. Family is a foundation for a child’s future relationships and parenting has a direct correlation to a child’s self-esteem and confidence. The impact and influence fathers have on their daughters during childhood and adolescence is incredibly long lasting. 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. Oftentimes communication can be difficult, strained or even awkward for fathers and daughters, especially as girls reach adolescence. Gary Burns, father of three, created the Mindamics COM-MU’-NI-CA’-TION game as a way to reconnect with his own daughter. The game is a convenient and practical way for all fathers to spend meaningful time with their daughters.

The COM-MU’-NI-CA’-TION game, established in 1995, is designed for fathers with daughters’ ages 10 or older and is comprised of 365 statement cards, a journal, two instruction sheets and one straw. The fill-in-the-blank statement cards are sorted into 26 clear packets, which are divided by the letters in the alphabet. The game begins with father and daughter going to a restaurant that begins with or contains the letter corresponding to the packet of cards for that meal. 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 materials to cover more than two years worth of activities.

“I created the game because I could sense that my daughter and I were growing apart. I was often out of the country on business and I could tell that the physical separation was also creating an enormous emotional distance between us“ said Burns, president of Mindamics, LLC. “On her sixteenth birthday, I called home from my hotel room in Israel to wish her a happy birthday. It was a turning point for me. I knew things had to change. I didn’t want to miss out on watching my daughter grow up.”

Each card included with the game contains a thoughtful question where the respondent, either the father or the daughter, must answer in an open ended way. For instance, “I’ll never forget the time you _______,” reads one card. The bottom of each card says, “I say that because_____,” which allows for fathers and daughters to elaborate on their feelings, give a reason for their previous answer and open up conversation even more.

“As fathers we have been given an incredible opportunity to show our daughters how men can be positive, loving and respectful individuals in their lives,” said Rich Batten, fatherhood specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “The relationships we have with our daughters impact how they view not only others but themselves as well. ”

Colorado fathers have been given the opportunity to purchase the COM-MU’-NI-CA’-TION game for $5 off the regular retail price during the month of February. Sponsored by the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, the cost of the game is $24.95 plus shipping and handling. To purchase the game, please visit http://www.coloradodads.com.

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to state, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information, please visit www.coloradodads.com.