- Faith & Family
From scientific research, to street wisdom and even community folklore, the worth and importance of a mother’s love for her children — demonstrated through her dedication, attention and tenderness is rarely questioned. What has often been overlooked, however, is the role of fathers in their child’s development.
According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, children with involved fathers are more likely to get mostly A’s in school. Few deny the importance of fathers in the lives of their children, but trends in the Black community still indicate many absentee dads. The Fatherhood Initiative estimates that two-in-three Black children live in father-absent homes. To that end, in 2010 they put their aims on helping more fathers become active parents in their children’s lives.
“Our intent is to have more fatherhood programs within Miami-Dade County that honor and protect the importance of fathers and recognize that they have skills and strengths that contribute to their child’s well-being,” said Holly Zwerling, president and CEO of the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida.
The task force meets with and provides training to various agencies and institutions in Miami-Dade County to encourage them to start their own fatherhood programs to reach out to and offer support to dads in their community.
“We are really organizing opportunities for fathers to come together to share their thoughts and also tell us what is preventing them from becoming involved with their children,” she said. “As a result of anger sometimes the parent taking care of the baby primarily doesn’t allow the other parent to become involved. Once you raise the awareness of the importance of fatherhood, maybe we will be able to get more dads [active] in their families.”
Zwerling adds that the role of fathers does not only have to be filled by a biological father.
“We’re also looking to get more fathers figures including uncles and grandfathers involved,” she said. “It would create an opportunity for a child to bond with a male figure, so they can get advice, be mentored and feel as if several people love them.”
On October 22nd, the task force will host its annual conference, “Building Family Success: Keeping Fathers Involved,” featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Leonard Pitts at the University of Miami.
Call 305-812-4000 or go to www.fatherhoodtaskforeceofsouthflorida.org for more information.
By Kaila Heard