In This Issue:
- 2009 Colorado Fatherhood Rally – Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Father's Day
- 2009 Be There for Your Kids Awards Winners
- Program Spotlight
- Fatherhood Programs in their Communities
- June Featured Father
- Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
- Upcoming Events
2009 Colorado Fatherhood Rally — Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Father’s Day
Thanks to the assistance of Colorado fathers, families, fatherhood programs, community agencies and volunteers, the 2009 Colorado Fatherhood Rally was a tremendous success!
Hundreds of Coloradans joined us at City Park on Saturday, June 20th to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Father's Day. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper opened our fatherhood recognition program with his son, Teddy. Representatives from Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring, winner of the 2009 Be There for Your Kids Program of the Year Award, followed Mayor Hickenlooper on the stage before Joel Webster, the recipient of the Father of the Year Award, was introduced. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter closed the fatherhood recognition program by emphasizing the need for fatherhood programs in our State and the importance of fathers being involved in the lives of their children.
The crowd was entertained by performances from the Denver Indian Family Resource Center dancers, East High School Drumline and Planet-O, a local Denver band, throughout the day. Thirty-two fatherhood programs and community agencies handed out information on their services to those in attendance and provided activities for fathers and children to do together. Giveaways, including free passes to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Elitch Gardens as well as free tickets to an upcoming Colorado Rapids game, were also given out.
While Colorado celebrated the 100th anniversary of Father's Day in Denver, hundreds of fathers were recognizing the holiday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the same time. Several organizations including the National Partnership for Community Leadership, National Center for Fathering and National Fatherhood Initiative came together to host this national rally. President Obama addressed the crowd and reiterated his responsible fatherhood message during a special video segment.
As approximately 25 million American children are living apart from their fathers today, these successful events truly raised awareness of the exceptional fatherhood work taking place across the country.
Visit the link below to view photos from the 2009 Colorado Fatherhood Rally and also be directed to news coverage on the Denver and Washington, D.C., events.
2009 Be There for Your Kids Awards Winners
In an effort to recognize and reward outstanding individuals and program service in healthy father involvement with children, families and communities throughout Colorado, the Colorado Fatherhood Council established the Be There for Your Kids Awards in 2008. Individuals and programs from across the State that demonstrate excellence, consistency, creativity and leadership in serving fathers or in being a father are eligible to receive an award.
The winners of the 2009 Be There for Your Kids Awards were announced during the 2009 Colorado Fatherhood Rally. They include:
Dennis Hofts – Advocate of the Year - The father of a son who suffers from schizophrenia, Dennis has worked tirelessly with the Colorado chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill to push through needed legislation and reduce the stigma of mental illness.
Tyler Osterhaus – Colorado Fatherhood Council Member of the Year - The Colorado Fatherhood Council is a coalition of fatherhood programs, providers, State agencies and dads that meet on a monthly basis to discuss fatherhood issues. Tyler currently serves as the Council's domestic violence work team chair. He has contributed to the work of the Council in almost every way from serving on the leadership team, coordinating regional forums and assisting with public awareness activities to promoting fatherwork wherever he goes.
Jerome Perkins – Fatherhood Practitioner of the Year - Jerome is the administrator of Christlife Ministries in Pueblo, one of 28 programs currently funded by the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative. This program is focused on mentoring fathers in prison to connect with their children on the inside while also preparing them for a lasting relationship with their family when they are released. Jerome has put forth an enormous amount of effort to increase awareness of Christlife Ministries in prisons throughout southeast Colorado.
Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring (UCAM) – Program of the Year – UCAM provides at-risk fathers and families in Northeast Denver and Aurora with the tools they need to become more self-sufficient. Through their Step Up to the Plate fatherhood program, UCAM offers parenting education, mentorship, GED education, employment assistance and financial literacy information. According to those who nominated UCAM for this award, the program has a strong presence in the community and staff members are always willing to work extra hours, assisting fathers with whatever they need to improve their lives.
Joel Webster – Father of the Year –
We were honored to present the 2009 Father of the Year award to Denver resident Joel Webster. Joel and his wife Bridget are parents to 13-year-old Michael and 9-year-old Haley. After spending part of his childhood in foster care and being homeless for a short period of time, Joel has shown a tremendous commitment to his two children and all of the children living in his community.
Congratulations to all of the 2009 Be There Awards winners! In addition to the recognition they received at the Fatherhood Rally, each winner will also be honored during the 2009 Colorado Fatherhood Training Academy this fall.
Program Spotlight — Empowering Dads Program at
Montrose County Department of Health and Human Services – Montrose, CO
1. What services do you provide to fathers and families with your grant funding?
Our fathers work with a coach who provides individual assessment, case management, advocacy and mediation to improve their relationships with their families and access appropriate community services when needed. Parenting classes, group workshops on healthy communication and relationships, legal system information and father/child interactive experiential activities are also available to participants.
2. What do you ultimately want to achieve with your program?
We would like to sustain an ongoing coaching/mentoring resource for local fathers, including a resource referral component and an ongoing peer-to-peer support network. It is our goal to also sustain ongoing parent education classes that are primarily father-focused with a family-centered component.
3. Describe a typical day at Empowering Dads.
There probably is no "typical" day for the Empowering Dads staff. At least part of each day is spent working one-on-one with a father discussing parenting issues. Some days can be spent entirely with one dad who is struggling with a specific issue, while other days might find our coaches supporting a father through a court appearance, arranging upcoming classes or presenting the program to community groups to increase referrals.
4. What is the best part about working with fathers and families?
Watching fathers experience growth in their parenting skills and abilities. Having a father share that he has stopped spanking his young son in favor of another more nurturing method of discipline. Knowing that a dad now has a kind word for his teenage daughter each and every day as opposed to a constant barrage of criticism. And, finally, listening to a father talk of the mother of his children without harsh words and with the knowledge that they must work together to do what is best of their kids.
5. Share a program/father success story with us.
A father came to us after spending months in the hospital following a tragic motor vehicle accident. During his time recuperating, his wife filed for divorce, took their child and left the State. The father in this scenario desperately wanted to parent his child and was at his wits end trying to achieve that goal. He was assigned a coach who provided a listening ear, pointed him in the right direction for legal support and constantly, constantly encouraged him to assert himself to establish his right, his duty to be a father to his child.
This father had his day in court and was awarded partial custody of his child. Of course, he was thrilled. Now the hard work comes in re-learning to parent and his coach will be there for more support, continued advocacy and to offer parenting classes and resources. Through the help and support of the entire Empowering Dads staff, this father will be able to realize his parenting goals and continue to build a strong relationship with his child.
Fatherhood Programs in their Communities
Our community access funded programs provide fathers and their children with positive family time by organizing picnics, basketball games, park days and trips to local sporting events. Recently, Denver fathers and their children received free haircuts in honor of Father's Day from the Carmelo Anthony Foundation and Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring paid a special visit to patients at The Children's Hospital.
Denver Fathers and Children Receive Free Haircuts Thanks to Carmelo Anthony
On Monday, June 15, eight fathers and children participating in local fatherhood programs received free haircuts at Carmelo Anthony's Studio 15 in celebration of Father's Day. The June event was a continuation of the Carmelo Anthony Foundation's monthly "15 on the 15th" program in which Melo utilizes his barbershop to help disadvantaged children and underserved adults.
Melo launched the "15 on the 15th" program in January 2009 as another way for his Foundation to serve the Denver community. On the 15th of each month, the Foundation selects a different Denver community organization to be the beneficiary of the program. Visit www.carmelocares.org for more information.
Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring and the Colorado Cobras Visit The Children’s Hospital
On May 23, Urban Colors Arts & Mentoring (UCAM) and the Colorado Cobras semi-pro football team paid a special visit to The Children's Hospital Denver. Fathers, players and coaches spent the afternoon visiting with young patients who are unable to leave the hospital to attend football games. A team-signed Cobras jersey was also given to the hospital, along with team-signed footballs for patients.
UCAM has partnered with the Cobras for the last several years to raise community awareness of the fatherhood program. Throughout each season, UCAM representatives hand out
fatherhood information to fans and answer questions from fathers on the team.
June Featured Father – Thompson Williams
Thompson Williams, administrator of the Strong Fathers program at the Denver Indian Family Resource Center, is the most recent dad featured on the Colorado Dads Web site. A father of four, Thompson enjoys listening to music and going to concerts with his children as well as encouraging them to take pride in their Native culture.
What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood means being a good role model for my kids. My dad was my greatest hero. I hope to be the same for my kids.
I have been told that fatherhood is leadership and that a leader blazes a path for others to follow. Today our children deal with an enormous amount of distractions on a daily basis. As parents we want our children to grow up the right way, but if we don't pay attention to their wants and needs they will find someone who will. Allowing someone else to become role models for our children should not happen.
What is your proudest moment as a dad?
The proudest moments have been watching my daughter graduate from high school knowing that so many Native children dropout before they finish school. Even that night a teacher tried to stop her from crossing the stage because she was wearing her moccasins and a traditional sign of honor - an eagle feather given to her by her grandmother and the medicine people of our family. And simply the times I see that they have grown into good, caring people that love each other. Hearing them talk about going to college and getting jobs. And knowing that when I start my journey into the next world they will be able to stand on their own.
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 Rich Batten, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, is updated on a regular basis. Recent topics include "Thank You For A Great Fatherhood Rally!", "1,000 Male Mentors" and "The Championship Fathering Commitment". Become a subscriber of the blog and you will receive automatic e-mail announcements when it is updated.
As online social networking Web sites continue to connect various groups throughout the country, the Be There for Your Kids campaign has created our own fatherhood Facebook and MySpace pages as well as a YouTube channel. We are looking for new fans of these pages to comment on recent fatherhood notes and videos and discuss relevant topics in the discussion boards. Check out the latest Colorado Fatherhood Rally promotional videos!
Legal Night at Mi Casa
Third Thursday of Every Month
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Mi Casa Resource Center for Women
360 Acoma Street
Denver, CO 80223
An opportunity for free legal consultations. Get information regarding legal questions including immigration, credit, housing, landlords, employment issues and family law.
Conscious Fathering Course
6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
1025 Pennock Place, Ste 115
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Conscious Fathering is a class that focuses on providing expectant and new fathers the skills needed to confidently care for their children. This 2.5 hour program provides men a "hands on" opportunity to learn their baby's five basic needs, the "things every parent needs to know", the keys to how babies communicate, how to not only meet your baby's needs but anticipate them and how to build a solid relationship with your child from the very first day. More than just basic baby care, this program offers men insight into preparing for those precious first few months of baby's life.
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 monthly meeting in Colorado Springs, Pueblo or Cañon City for lunch, encouragement and for 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.