Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • Highlights of the 2010 Fatherhood Training Academy
  • Fathers Reading Every Day This November
  • Program Spotlight
  • Colorado Dads Head to the October 17th Broncos Game
  • Colorado Data and Research – Making the Case for Fatherhood
  • October Featured Father
  • Highlights of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

Highlights of the 2010 Fatherhood Training Academy

Fatherhood Training AcademyOn October 4-6, more than 100 fatherhood and family service practitioners from across the state joined together for the 2010 Fatherhood Training Academy – Going from Good to Great.

The Academy opened on Monday, October 4th with a keynote presentation by Mark Kiselica, Ph.D. Dr. Kiselica is one of the world's foremost researchers in the field of teenage and young fatherhood. His presentation focused on the differences in working with fathers vs. mothers, the successes programs around the world have seen after making subtle changes in the way they approach working with young dads and the advantages of making personal connections with fathers.

Those attending the three-day Academy also participated in some of the following presentations: 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 portal; working with and understanding the Child Support Enforcement Program; domestic violence training; building cultural competency; and public awareness and fatherhood.

The winners of the 2010 Be There for Your Kids Awards were recognized again during a special ceremony on Tuesday, October 5th. Click here for the full list of 2010 Be There Awards winners. That ceremony featured a special address from Rich Batten, former fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. As the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative enters the fifth year of federal community access grant funding, Rich touched upon the tremendous strides we've made as a state in serving fathers and how the impact of fatherhood programs will continue to resonate within Colorado families for generations to come.

It is our hope that the educational presentations provided at the 2010 Fatherhood Training Academy better equipped practitioners with skills they need to help every Colorado father be there for his kids. 


Fathers Reading Every Day This November

Father reading to his daughterThis November, the Be There for Your Kids campaign will again promote the Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) program to all Colorado dads. FRED is a four-week program originally designed by Texas A&M University to encourage fathers, grandfathers and other positive male role models to read with their children every day.

Fathers play a critical role in their children’s reading and academic success. A 2009 study from the National Center for Fathering revealed that 55 percent of fathers read with their children at least once or twice per month, but 39 percent of dads never read with their children. National education studies continue to show that when fathers take an active role in their children’s education, the children are more likely to earn A’s, participate in activities like sports and clubs, enjoy school and are less likely to repeat a grade. And as the “Waiting for Superman” documentary about the United States education system continues to receive buzz, fathers should be viewed as a resource for children who are struggling.

FRED asks fathers to read to their children for 15 minutes a day during the first two weeks of November and 30 minutes a day during the last two weeks of the month. By visiting the Colorado Dads website, dads can download a reading log and fill out pre and post program surveys to be entered into a drawing to receive special prizes. Links to appropriate books for different ages and literacy resources as well as Colorado libraries and Head Start programs promoting FRED this November can also be found on the website.


Program Spotlight – Fatherhood Program of Routt County – Steamboat Springs

Father reading to his daughter1. What services do you provide to fathers and families with your community access grant funding?

The Fatherhood Program of Routt County provides parenting classes with the Nurturing Fathers and Making Parenting a Pleasure curricula. Additionally, the program plans on providing a six-week course through a collaboration with the Colorado State University Extension Office that will offer nutrition and financial education to fathers of children of all ages. Routt County holds a monthly support group for fathers that serves as a forum for dads to share their experiences and interact with other fathers. Specific topics for the support group vary each month. Lastly, through the program’s collaboration with a local domestic violence service provider, the Caring Dads curriculum is offered to appropriate fathers.

Not inclusive of the community access grant funding, Routt County hosts several fatherhood events each summer including a fly fishing event, equine therapy event and an outdoor education event. I, Mariah Poole, program administrator, have also developed a pro bono, pro se clinic for our South Routt County clients. We have worked with the county court appointed mediator for referrals for non-custodial parents (NCP’s) and fathers with parenting time and parental allocation issues. The court also provides a pro bono, pro se clinic for Routt County at large that we often make referrals to.

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

Awareness of how important fathers are to our community and families. Our program wants to make sure that fathers and NCP’s have a safe place to come with questions, fears, concerns and great breakthroughs. Lastly, we want to provide the best collaborative network of resources for our small rural county to encourage residents to get involved in the responsible fatherhood movement.

3. Describe at typical day at the Fatherhood Program of Routt County.

A typical day involves making contacts in the community and nurturing existing partnerships. I field phone calls regarding fatherhood issues from dads and NCP’s, refer fathers to community resources and provide overall support to dads in Routt County.

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

The best part for me is getting a smile or handshake from a dad. In many respects, I will never know how much our program’s assistance helped a father and his family. That smile, handshake or a “thank you” is enough. 

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

One of my favorite stories is a father who was referred to us from the Child Support Enforcement office. I made contact with this father, but he was very hesitant to reach out for help. We started by trying to figure out what his immediate concerns were. I was able to address those with efficiency, which helped us build a trusting relationship. My next step was to secure financial assistance to help this dad pay for child care for his son throughout the summer. This allowed the father to continue to work and relieved a lot of financial stress. The dad was able to concentrate on something more important – building a great relationship with his son.


Colorado Dads Head to the October 17th Broncos Game

Colorado Dads at the Broncos GameAs part of his community outreach initiative to provide free tickets to Colorado charities throughout the 2010 season, Denver Broncos defensive star Elvis Dumervil invited seven fathers and their children to experience the Broncos vs. Jets game on Sunday, October 17th. The dads and kids traveled to the game in style on a party bus, walked onto the field during pregame warm-ups and watched the exciting game together in Section 108 of INVESCO Field. The seven children attending the game also received Elvis Dumervil jerseys.         

Sports – participating, watching or attending games together – can be an easy connector for fathers and their children. This fatherhood recognition event was an opportunity for several families to attend their first professional sporting event together and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Colorado Data and Research – Making the Case for Fatherhood

As we enter the fifth year of federal community access grant funding, many fatherhood programs and initiatives across the country are looking for resources to help sustain their work with fathers and families. The Colorado Data & Research section of the Colorado Dads website provides a wealth of resources for organizations and practitioners to make the case for continued fatherhood funding. From international fatherhood related research projects and national data sets to specific research on the success of fatherhood programs working with fragile families, the resources posted in this section of the site should not be overlooked.


October Featured Father – Craig Carson

Craig Carson and sonsHighlands Ranch resident Craig Carson is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads website. A father of two boys, Craig enjoys watching his sons’ personalities develop as well as playing games – the pilot game is one of their favorites! – and discovering new, fun things to do at home with them.

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

My first child was born 12 weeks premature. The first time I saw him was in the intensive care unit and there were machines, wires, alarms going off and a lot of chaos. The nurse taking care of him said to me, “Craig, see the baby. I will take care of everything else”. That has stuck with me. Regardless of what’s going on in my life, there is always my child there who needs me to see him for who he is and who he can become.

What does fatherhood mean to you?

Fatherhood is more than just creating children. A father is a person who guides and supports a child into adulthood. Being a father means being a role model, supporter, mentor, authority figure, encourager and a protector. A father should be an active participant in his child’s life. As the saying goes, train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.


Highlights of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Colorado Dads at the Broncos GameBy: Tyler Osterhaus, chair of the Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence campaign

Over the past four years Colorado has emerged as a national leader in terms of our strong collaborations between local fatherhood programs and domestic violence service providers across the state. Out of these unique relationships and collaborations the Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence (CMADV) campaign was formed and together we embarked upon our mission to champion, mobilize and equip networks of men to prevent domestic violence and promote healthy relationships.

As most readers are already aware, October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and people across the state have been doing their part to raise awareness of this important issue. While we must never lose our focus on the support and advocacy that our partnering domestic violence service providers offer to victims of domestic violence, I do think that an important part of awareness is celebrating the gains that we’ve made in bringing boys and men into the mix. With that in mind I’d like to share some of great work being carried out this month:

  • 27 funded and six non-funded programs participating in the 2010 Fatherhood Training Academy attended a domestic violence workshop designed to improve their awareness of and ability to identify domestic violence amongst their clientele.

  • CMADV members, Joe Cannata, Bill Donovan and Tyler Osterhaus represented Colorado men and fathers at the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s (CCADV) annual rally at the Colorado State Capitol on October 5th.

  • Cristian Villagomez, a high school student and youth community education program staff member for Project PAVE, offered a youth perspective on teen dating violence at a TDV 101 class for parents at the University of Denver Women’s College. This class was co-presented by Project PAVE and CCADV.

  • CMADV member Rich Batten spoke about prevention and the role men can play in ending domestic violence at a rally and candlelight vigil at the Aurora Police Department on October 13th.

  • Rich Batten and Tyler Osterhaus participated in a discussion about domestic violence with a group of delegates from Chechnya, Russia hosted by CCADV.

  • Leaders from the Latino community in Greeley held an “Exploring Masculinity” forum focusing on machismo, male mentoring and healthy relationships.

  • Montrose County’s fatherhood program partnered with their local domestic violence service provider to host a showing of the film, “Tough Guise”, which explores masculinity and violence in the media.

  • Tyler Osterhaus was invited to speak at University of Northern Colorado’s take Back The Night Rally. His five year-old daughter, Luna presented with him.

  • On October 21st, Rich Batten spoke at the Southern Colorado Domestic Violence Symposium in Pueblo. Here is a portion of his speech:
    “Unfortunately I believe there is at least one conversation that is not happening frequently enough and that is male conversations – man to man, man to woman, father to child – on the importance of healthy and safe relationships...conversations that acknowledge and address the distress and destruction caused by violent relationships.

    I believe these conversations take more than just words. They also demand courage...They require courage because they are conversations that speak to the heart and soul of who we are and what is right and wrong with our world...”

  • Members of CMADV from Greeley organized a “Girl Power” Dating Violence Awareness Fair in collaboration with the local domestic violence shelter on October 21st.

To date, 783 people have signed the CMADV pledge stating that they will take a stand against domestic violence. For more information on the CMADV campaign, please contact Tyler Osterhaus.


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 “Dads and Youth Athletics” and “A Woman’s Perspective”. 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

Boot Camp for New Dads
Various locations and dates each month

Boot Camp for New Dads is a unique father-to-father, community-based workshop that inspires and equips men of different economic levels, ages and cultures to become confidently engaged with their infants, support their mates and personally navigate their transformation into dads.

Boot Camp is validated by research and has been named a best practice by many organizations that consider it an exceptional means of supporting dads-to-be and fostering behaviors that greatly benefit children and help prevent a wide range of social ills. Founded in 1990, the non-profit Boot Camp for New Dads has graduated more than 200,000 men, making it by far the nation's largest program for new fathers, and  is now offered in 44 states and on U.S. military bases and is expanding internationally.


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 CaƱon 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:
. . .

Free passes to the Longmont Creepy Walk in the Woods
October 29 - 31.

Free admission to the Central City Creepy Crawl on Saturday nights throughout October
at 7:00 p.m.

Free admission to the Denver Firefighters Museum.

. . .

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