Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • 2010 Fatherhood Training Academy — Going from Good to Great
  • Kindergarten (and life) Prep
  • Program Spotlight
  • Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative and Colorado Child Support Enforcement Program Announce New Projects
  • Healthy Relationships — Your Resource When Working with Fathers and Families
  • August Featured Father
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

2010 Fatherhood Training Academy — Going from Good to Great

On October 4 — 6, 2010, Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Community Access Programs will come together in Colorado Springs for the 2010 Fatherhood Training Academy. The theme of this year's academy is Going from Good to Great.

Over the course of three days, programs will attend presentations on such topics as healthy relationships and fatherhood; funding sustainability; the road ahead; working with fathers who have substance abuse problems; understanding Child Welfare and the new Child Welfare website; working with and understanding the Child Support Enforcement Program; domestic violence training; and building cultural competency. Fatherhood and family service practitioners from across the country will present at the Academy, with Mark Kiselica, Ph.D., delivering the keynote address. Dr. Kiselica is the author of more than 100 publications and 80 conference presentations, most of which are focused on advocacy work for teenage fathers and troubled boys and on the process of confronting racism and anti-Semitism.

A special banquet will take place the evening of Tuesday, October 5th to honor the winners of the 2010 Be There for Your Kids Awards. These annual awards recognize outstanding fathers, fatherhood programs, family service agencies and individuals who demonstrate excellence, creativity, consistency and leadership in developing responsible fatherhood throughout Colorado.

Winners of the 2010 Be There for Your Kids Awards

Father of the Year — Kevin Crumley
Outstanding Father Reengagement Award — Kendall Davis
Fatherhood Program of the Year — Fatherhood Support Services
Outstanding Fatherhood Practitioner of the Year — Ken Sanders, The Center on Fathering
Colorado Fatherhood Council Member of the Year — Terry Spindler, Colorado Child Support Enforcement
Extraordinary Leader for Fatherhood in Colorado Award — Rich Batten, former fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services

All Year Five Community Access Funded Programs are required to attend the 2010 Academy. Currently funded programs are allowed to send up to three representatives. Their lodging for two days and meals during the Academy will be paid for by the PRF grant. First priority for attendance at the 2010 Fatherhood Training Academy will be given to Year Five Community Access Funded Programs. Non-funded or previously funded programs and other individuals will be considered on a first come basis.

Registration for the 2010 Academy will close at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 1, 2010.


Kindergarten (and life) Prep

By: James Mejia

As summer comes to a close, families across Colorado are preparing for the start of the new school year. I too am busy checking off school supply lists and managing schedules as the father of three young girls.

This is the time of year when many kids are making the transition from preschool to kindergarten. As you send your little ones off to their first day of elementary school, you may wonder, just as I did, if your children are academically and socially prepared for this important academic shift.

As CEO of the Denver Preschool Program (DPP) and a father, I know the important role that fathers play in the development of young children. I've witnessed the beneficial effects fathers have on preschool age children from both personal and academic perspectives.

At DPP our mission is to prepare Denver's children for successful academic careers by connecting families with affordable early childhood learning and increasing the quality of early childhood learning programs throughout Denver. We recognize, however, that quality early childhood learning is just one important piece to academic preparedness that is most effective when combined with a high level of parental involvement.

For years, studies across the nation have confirmed that children whose fathers are more involved have a greater chance at success in school. A study cited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates that children whose fathers were involved when they were toddlers start school with a higher level of academic readiness and are better equipped to handle the stress associated with school than children with less involved fathers (Rosenberg, J., & Wilcox, B. W. (2006). The importance of fathers in the healthy development of children.).

It's amazing, and important, to reflect on the impact that a simple activity like reading together has on your children. By starting a new story before bedtime, eating a healthy dinner together or taking a family walk through one of Denver's parks I'm impacting academic achievement, decision making and emotional security for my daughters.

So, as we move into the new school year, I encourage all fathers to remember the important, and life changing, effects they have on their children. Together, as we encourage parents to get involved and connect them with resources for early childhood learning, we can improve the future of our children.


Program Spotlight — Fremont Fatherhood Program - Cañon City

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

The Fremont Fatherhood Program (FFP) is a curriculum and evidence-based program held in a classroom setting over 12-weeks. Participants meet for approximately two hours, one day a week. The program is open to fathers in the foster care system, teen dads, fathers in the child support system, low income fathers, non-custodial fathers, high-risk fathers, dads recently released from prison, new or expectant dads and grandfathers. My, FFP coordinator Gary Watkins, email address and phone number are available to all fathers participating in the program.

FFP also provides referral assistance to dads such as financial education and mental health and counseling resources. Dads who complete the 12-week program receive a framed certificate and can volunteer to participate in our mentoring program.

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

Regardless of a father's marriage or child custodial situation, we want dads to be an integral part of their children's lives. We endeavor to instill in dads that they have a responsibility to their children financially, socially, spiritually and to love them unconditionally. Through our curriculum, classroom discussions, videos and guest speakers we want to help fathers learn the skills they need to become the best dads they can be.

3. Describe a typical day at the Fremont Fatherhood Program.

I typically work three days a week. On non-class days, I solicit program referrals, meet with agency caseworkers and prepare for upcoming program sessions. Occasionally, a dad will want to talk about his situation or want to know more about our program. I also attend various agency departmental meetings and explain the mission, goals and purpose of FFP.

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

It's seeing and hearing that dads in the program are interacting more with their children. I also enjoy seeing the dads radiate with enthusiasm when a skill, technique, advice or experience is discussed that addresses a situation they are going through. It is exciting to see the moment when participants understand that they can be a better dad because of the information they learned in our class.

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

I have a young dad — age 17 — who is going through our program a second time at his request. He has been in juvenile detention for approximately 18 months. To witness his maturity develop, demeanor improve and class participation increase over the course of two full program sessions has been exhilarating for me and the other fathers. I believe that this young man's participation in FFP classes played a huge role in his security level being reduced to the lowest level, which now allows him to have regular unsupervised home visits with his son.


Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative and Colorado Child Support Enforcement Program Announce New Projects

The PRF Initiative is excited to announce the development of two outreach projects with the Colorado Child Support Enforcement Program. The first is an educational video for fathers that will answer common child support questions regarding paternity establishment, child support order guidelines and modifications, enforcement process, visitation and common misconceptions about child support. This video will also provide tips for working with technicians and build awareness of the benefits of mediation and co-parenting.

The second project is the creation of a password protected, online resource center for Child Support technicians. Similar to the Child Welfare Incentive Program website that launched in May 2010, this site will provide technicians with such resources as father engagement tips, referral links to local fatherhood programs and a forum to share agency news. Our goal with the creation of both projects is to eliminate confusion surrounding Child Support Enforcement among fathers and increase father engagement among county technicians.

Stay tuned for the launch of the Child Support Enforcement video and website very soon!


Healthy Relationships — Your Resource When Working with Fathers and Families

Did you know? The Healthy Relationships section of the Colorado Dads website can serve as an incredible resource for fatherhood and family service practitioners. With updated links to dozens of comprehensive websites, tips and research studies, this section of the site is designed to help fathers as they navigate through the sometimes difficult terrains of parenthood. The following topics are covered in the Healthy Relationships section:

  • Fathering
  • Marital Relationships
  • Single Dads and Co-Parenting
  • School Connections
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Peers and Friendships
  • Men Against Domestic Violence
  • Child Abuse Prevention
  • New Dads
  • Child Support Resources

"Fatherhood is not just a role — provider, disciplinarian, friend — it's also a relationship, one that transforms us as much as our kids." - Samuel Osherson, The Passions of Fatherhood. 1995.


August Featured Father — David Gonzales

Aurora resident David Gonzales is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads website. A step-father of two and former participant in the Aurora Mental Health Center Fatherhood Program, David enjoys playing Guitar Hero with his children and serving as a role model for them.

What is your proudest moment as a dad?

My proudest moment was when I taught Jacob how to tie his shoes. He tried to learn by himself at first, but he just wasn't getting it. He would get upset at himself and then give up. Each day, I would encourage him to keep trying and guide him through the process.

Finally, the big day came. We were getting ready to leave and I asked Jacob to try to tie his shoes again. He did it on his own! Jacob jumped up with joy and excitement and yelled, "David, I did it!" I had a huge smile across my face in that moment.

What does fatherhood mean to you?

Fatherhood means caring for and being able to nurture your children when they need you. It also means being there for them when they need someone to talk to.


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. Recent topics include "Losing a Child", "The Big Picture" and "An Introduction". Become a subscriber of the blog and you will receive automatic e-mail announcements when it is updated.

Another reminder that the Be There for Your Kids Facebook page is back! 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 channel for the latest campaign videos.


Upcoming Events

A Prescription for Healthy Learning Conference
Saturday, October 2, 2010
8:00 a.m. — 3:30 p.m.
Broomfield, Colorado

This conference, organized by Healthy Learning Paths, is designed for:

  • early childhood educators
  • preschool teachers
  • elementary school teachers
  • Head Start teachers
  • administrators
  • directors
  • child care centers
  • home child care providers
  • school nurses
  • child health promotion liaisons
  • college educators
  • parents

5.5 Continuing Education hours will be offered to participants. Dan Welch and Rich Batten, former fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, will present on responsible fatherhood in Colorado.

2010 Baseball Experience Contest
April 2010 — September 2010

Baseball is considered America's pastime and the sport has always been a great way for fathers and kids to spend time together.

Throughout spring and summer 2010, the Be There for Your Kids campaign is partnering with Fox Sports Net (FSN) Rocky Mountain to raise awareness of the importance of father involvement. As this campaign grows, we are also pleased to offer fathers and their children a unique opportunity — a chance to ask a baseball question on-camera during an FSN broadcast of a Sunday Colorado Rockies home game!


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

One free trail ride for a father and two children with the Rapp Corral in the San Juan National Forest.

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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 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, Colorado Works Division

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 – website, advertising and media relations)

Jennifer Nuhfer
Vice President of Communications
The Bawmann Group

Maggie Spain
Account Manager
The Bawmann Group