Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • 2009 Regional Fatherhood Trainings
  • Program Spotlight
  • Beyond Beats & Rhymes Documentary Screening
  • Watercooler Blog Call for Entries
  • November Featured Father
  • Fatherhood in the News
  • 2009 FRED Participants – Submit Your Reading Logs
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

2009 Regional Fatherhood Trainings

photos from regional trainingThe Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative hosted three regional training sessions for Community Access Funded Programs and community partners this month. Approximately 100 people joined us for these sessions, which were held in Denver, Durango and Colorado Springs. Each training featured the following presentations:

  • Evaluations, Outcomes and the MIS Interactive
  • Understanding Domestic Violence Offenders
  • Dads Panel
  • Working With Child Support Enforcement and Child Welfare
  • Strengthening Fatherhood In Your Community
  • Working With Specialized Populations
  • Cultural Competency and Reaching Communities of Color
  • Public Relations Tips and Strategies

Colorado is truly at the forefront of providing needed services to fathers and families. Every child deserves a father or father figure who is committed to their well being. The PRF Initiative seeks to equip fatherhood programs, social service agencies and family service practitioners with the tools they need to assist Colorado fathers through diverse training opportunities.

To access each regional training presentation and flash drive materials, please login to the Service Provider section of the Colorado Dads Web site. This link is found at the top of every page of the site.


Program Spotlight – Rural Solutions Fatherhood Program – Sterling

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

Rural Solutions provides fatherhood classes in Elbert County, Lincoln County and the Kit Carson Correctional Facility. The Nurturing Father’s Program is used at the Kit Carson Correctional Facility. Elbert County’s fatherhood program uses the 24/7 Dad and the Responsible Fatherhood Program curricula along with the Love and Logic curriculum. The LINCing Dads group in Lincoln County is currently developing a program to best serve the county.

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

Our goal is to build responsible fatherhood programs in the three locations designated by our grant contract so that they can be sustained in northeast Colorado for years to come.

3. Describe at typical day at Rural Solutions.

Rural Solutions is a non-profit organization that collaborates with local and regional agencies to address issues and create positive solutions for the health and well being of the diverse communities in northeast Colorado. We serve 10 different counties. There are always many things going on at our agency so a typical day is a very busy day.

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

The best part is watching fathers become more connected to their children as they realize the responsibility and importance they have to their families.

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

There are many, but the ones that seem to stand out are the stories from our fatherhood programs at the correctional facilities. One story in particular involves an inmate who at the beginning of the class was the most reserved participant. He was timid and shy and only spoke when called on. He had minimal communication with his daughter or her mother.

As the class progressed, this dad became more comfortable and began to actively participate in the weekly discussions. He began talking with his daughter’s mother and she agreed to bring their daughter to the program’s special family visit day. The inmate had his mother, sister, niece, daughter and his daughter’s mother at this event. This was the first interaction he had with his daughter since she was two months old (she is three years old now). Our fatherhood program facilitator reported that it was very heartwarming to see this man interact with his daughter and for her to be comfortable with him as her father.


Beyond Beats & Rhymes Documentary Screening

Written by Tyler Osterhaus, family focus prevention programs manager, Weld County Department of Human Services

Beyond Beats and Rhymes FlyerAs a father of a young daughter, I worry about her future. Currently one in three teens experiences an incidence of dating violence within their intimate relationships. With father absence on the rise, many young men haven’t seen healthy relationships modeled in their own home. As a father it is my job to not only protect my daughter, but to also educate young men and boys about healthy relationships and serve as a good role model. This isn’t always an easy task. Guys tend to become defensive when we start talking about empowering women and the role we play in perpetuating misogynistic behavior. The key is to engage them in a dialog packaged within a context they can relate to. For many young men that context is hip-hop.

HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats & Rhymes is a riveting documentary that tackles issues of masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia in today’s hip-hop culture. On November 3rd I had the great opportunity to partner with the University of Northern Colorado’s Women’s Resource Center and Department of Women’s Studies to hold a public screening of this film. A panel discussion followed the screening and students at the UNC campus engaged in a discussion about the issues presented in the film. Many of the students voiced that they felt the media played a strong role in perpetuating “in the box” gender roles that reinforce behavior that leads to many forms of violence within our society. UNC women’s studies professor, Chris Talbot, sat on the panel and urged students to take personal responsibility for their media consumption and to question lyrics and messages within popular culture that glorify violence and promote hate.


Watercooler Blog Call for Entries

The Colorado Dads Watercooler blog serves as a place where fathers and fatherhood practitioners can post their views of fatherhood and family. To commemorate the start of the holiday season, the Be There for Your Kids campaign wants to learn more about your favorite holiday traditions with your children. Whether it’s cutting down a Christmas tree or volunteering for the Salvation Army, these traditions create lasting memories for fathers and their children.

Submissions should be 500 words or less. All entries should be e-mailed to Maggie Spain. Entries must be submitted by December 8, 2009. The top entries will be selected to appear in the Watercooler blog throughout December 2009 and January 2010.


November Featured Father - Keith Lewis

Keith Lewis and son
Denver resident Keith Lewis is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads Web site. A father of one, Keith enjoys making music with his son as well as showing him how to be a leader and a provider.

What kind of dad do you strive to be?

A dad whose child feels like he can tell his father anything. I want my son to come to me first.

What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve received about fatherhood?

Children are a reflection of you and, as a parent, you will never stop learning from them!


Fatherhood in the News

Over the last few months, the news media has focused an increased amount of coverage on fatherhood, father absence, town hall meetings and fatherhood programs. Here is a brief synopsis of articles and broadcast stories you may have missed.

Dads, there’s a lot to remember. Here’s a list

Recently, my wife caught our 4-year-old daughter opening up the fridge and taking a big gulp of milk right out of the carton. When questioned about this behavior my daughter explained, “That's what Dad does.”

Busted! These days there's a lot of talk about celebrities and professional athletes and rock stars as role models for kids. By definition, a role model is neither good nor bad, but simply a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others. Unfortunately, we often overlook one of the most important role models in a kid's life — their dad.

Getting fathers to read to their children

According to a recent poll, 55 percent of fathers currently read to their children once or twice per month; 39 percent never do.

The U.S. Department of Education reports that when fathers read to their kids, their children are more likely to do well in school overall.

There is a new program called FRED (Fathers Reading Every Day) that is encouraging the practice. It lasts throughout the month of November.

Fathers Gain Respect From Experts (and Mothers)

It used to irk Melissa Calapini when her 3-year-old daughter, Haley, hung around her father while he fixed his cars. Ms. Calapini thought there were more enriching things the little girl could be doing with her time.

But since the couple attended a parenting course — to save their relationship, which had become overwhelmed by arguments about rearing their children — Ms. Calapini has had a change of heart. Now she encourages the father-daughter car talk.

Dads, This Is Your Challenge To Step Up

When my son was 3, my wife and I rushed him to the emergency room. Bouncing from couch to chair in our living room, he had slipped and crashed into a coffee table. The pediatrician and the nurse explained how to care for his five stitches. At some point, it dawned on me that neither one made eye contact with me, even after I asked a question. They gave directions to my wife only. Soon after, I was bringing my older son to school, and his teacher asked me: "Would you tell your wife to pack an extra pair of shoes for Jake tomorrow?"

Admittedly, I'm not eager to pack the shoes, and my wife and I easily slip into classic gender roles. But at the same time, my better nature cringed. Why should I so easily be let off the hook?


2009 FRED Participants – Submit Your Reading Logs

father and daughterIf you or a father you work with participated in the Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) program this month, be sure to complete your reading logs and pre and post-program surveys. Completed reading logs can be e-mailed to, faxed to 303.866.5488 or mailed to the following address:

Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
1575 Sherman Street, 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80203

FRED materials will remain on the Colorado Dads Web site throughout the year for individuals and programs that would like to participate in the program during other months.


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 “Sole companions”, “Dads, kids & baseball...from the mundane to the memorable” and “Building a bond through books”. 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. Become a fan today!


Upcoming Events

Denver Legal Clinic
Every Thursday
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Denver Department of Human Services

At these clinics, attorneys will present information on:

  • Visitation / Parenting Time
  • Contempt Citation
  • Child Support Issues
  • Custody
  • Any other Family Law and court issues you may have

No prior sign up for the clinics is necessary. Each one is open to everyone in the Denver metro area.

Responsible Fatherhood Program
Every Wednesday
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
The Pinon Project – Cortez

The Piñon Project provides Wednesday evening classes utilizing the Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum; communication training utilizing the Core Communication curriculum; outside speakers including those working on domestic violence cases, substance abuse and nutrition; and family development planning advocacy. As the material is covered, intense discussions frequently occur from the fathers’ experiences. Sessions always end by 8:00 p.m., but facilitators often stay later to work one-on-one with fathers who may need information or support.


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.

Check out to register for free or low-cost opportunities for dads to connect with their kids. Current offers include:
. . .

Free roundtrip train passage on the Georgetown Loop Railroad.

Free admission to the Forney Museum of Transportation.

. . .

Each month, 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 Web site, 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:

Rich Batten
Fatherhood Specialist
Colorado Department of Human Services

Mary Roberto
Manager, Program Development and System Innovation Section
Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division

The Bawmann Group Contacts:

(regarding the public awareness campaign materials – Web site, advertising and media relations).

Jennifer Nuhfer
Vice President of Communications
The Bawmann Group

Maggie Spain
Account Manager
The Bawmann Group