Fathers Forward Inc. is now a standalone 501 [c] 3 nonprofit organization comprised of men who are fathers, community leaders and professionals with life-long careers in the family and community services arena a sterling example of what is possible when concerned citizens collaborate to respond to problems and challenges that impact their communities. Conceived with the idea to build a program that would provide men in their community with sorely needed support, networking opportunities and access to resources that would help fathers and father figures become better parents and leaders in their community.
Fathers Forward Background
The Black Star Project held the first Million Father March on the first day of school back in 2004 (www.blackstarproject.org ) In 2006, Black Star utilized the internet to register participants around the country whereby New York State had over 30 individuals, community groups and schools sign up. In 2007 the NYS Office of Children and Family Services utilized the Million Father March as one of the avenues to encourage father involvement in the lives of children (to support the state-wide child welfare training “Locating & Engaging Fathers Toolkit”). In 2009 the term “Dads Take Your Child to School Day” was coined to include all ethnicities throughout the state with the inclusion of the Administration for Children and Families as a partner who established the first website In 2006, Dads Take Your Child to School Day (DTYCTSD) began as an initiative to encourage, engage and empower fathers to play a more active role in their children’s lives. Participants included 350 schools and Head Start Programs throughout New York State. By 2010, New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) became a regular participant in NYC Dads – The Mayor’s Fatherhood Initiative. It was during that time that ACS learned more about Dads Take Your Child to School Day (DTYCTSD) and decided to take a more active role in this effort. With that, a movement was created to initiate and formulate what is known as the Responsible Fatherhood Coalition (RFC).
Mission: To serve and engage fathers and father figures in social, cultural and civic activities that are designed to nurture and improve the quality of relationships with their children, families and their communities; to equip them with the information, skills and resources needed to be more effective parents.
Fathers Forward Inc. collaborates with Sate, City and Community agonies: • To connect the City to fathers in the communities where they live; • To serve as a credible messenger for community and city initiatives; • To refer fathers to relevant resources, programs, and supports
Vision: We envision an on-going and working partnership of fathers and father-figures, schools, religious and community associations, local proprietors, public and private agencies to support and sustain our initiatives.
The Need America is facing a crisis within the Black community. With regard to Black men and Black boys, the statistics are nothing short than staggering. Below are some examples:
One quarter of all Black children are living in poverty.
Of all African American births, 6.6 percent are to girls under the age of 18.
In some cities, nearly 80 percent of Black boys are not finishing high school.
Everyday more than a thousand Black children are arrested.
For comparable drug offenses, African American youngsters are 48 times more likely than White youngsters to be sentenced to juvenile prisons.
One in every eight Black men between the ages of 25 and 29 is incarcerated.
For young Black women between the ages of 25 and 34, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death.
The leading cause of death for Black boys is homicide.
Healthy families are at the heart of any healthy community and productive and supported men and fathers are at the heart of any healthy family.
The statistics highlighted above give reason as to why there is a growing crisis in the Black community. Unfortunately, Black men, fathers in particular, are dealing with the sad reality of high levels of imprisonment, unemployment, premature death, and poor health.
Fathers Forward Inc. Collaborative Fathers Forward Inc. launched its school celebrative and outreach to respond to the above problems facing our men and their children with its first annual Daddy Daughter Dance in June of 2017 who attracted over 150 men and adolescent daughters for a day of Fun, Entertainment, Refreshments and Bonding. These events are often in collaboration with the Administration for children services, the Department of Education and various community partners. Since then, the organization has regularly hosted gatherings that have focused on the following pertinent topics and issues designed to empower men:
• Education • Employment • Responsible Fatherhood • Financial Empowerment • Health & Wellness • Healthy Relationships • Mentoring for our Children • Social Justice
The City Wide Responsible Fatherhood Coalitions:
The RFC promoted and coordinated the City’s various and related efforts to engage and supported fathers and father figures. The Initiative understood the importance of including the community in identifying and developing the solutions to the issues facing fathers. As a result of their social entrepreneurship spirit and vision, Fathers Forward has quickly become recognized as entity within selected NYC Schools that provides men with regularly scheduled empowerment presentations that have attracted over 250 participants for information and inspiration. Father Forward Inc was the Manhattan Division of The Five Borough Responsible Fatherhood Coalition and seeks to leverage existing state city and community relationships and networks to enhance empowerment opportunities for men.
Fathers Forward Inc. has provided a platform for several outstanding community leaders, social entrepreneurs and educational advocates to provide information and inspiration to men seeking to improve their lives.
• Shawn Dove, CEO Open Society, Black Male Achievement • Keith LT Wright, NYS County Leader • Al Taylor, New York State Assemblymen • Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt, CEO and Founder of Strategic Destiny • James Smalls, Former Professor at CUNY • William Henry, New York State office of Children and family Services • Susan Taylor, Founder, Essence Magazine • Brian Benjamin, New York State Senator
In addition to the information delivered via the speakers and workshops, Fathers Forward Inc. provides men with access to community-based organizations that provide vital resources in the areas of education, health, mentoring, employment and responsible fatherhood initiatives. Below is a sampling of the organizations that have participated and supported us: • Boys and Girls Club • 100 Black Men • Madison Square Boys and Girls Club • Mid-Town Community Court Employment Services (Up-Next) • The Fatherhood Network • Manhattan School District 5 • Columbia University Employment Program • NYC Administration for Children Services • Frederick E. Samuels Community Democratic Club
Identify, organize and distribute supportive "father improvement" information and make it readily accessible to all fathers in local communities.
Utilize schools, libraries, YMCAs and religious centers as the primary sites for distribution.
Utilize personal service and recreational centers as secondary sites.
Establish the collaboration of public and private human service agencies to conduct seminars and workshops specifically tailored for the improvement of father-child relationships.
Identify, organize and facilitate the training of outreach agents for "hard-to-reach" male populations.
Organize and promote social and cultural affairs that promote productive and bonding opportunities between parents and their children.
Replicate Fathers Forward Inc,. Centers in all 5 boroughs.
Outcomes perhaps the most significant impact that Fathers Forward Inc. has provided to the men of the Harlem community is a venue and platform to network, share resources, and to understand that there is a growing fabric of leaders and organizations that are working in New York City to respond to the needs of our men and boys. The gatherings are proof positive that that there is “power in partnerships.” Several community collaborative projects have emerged out of our collaborative efforts. In addition, the leadership group of Fathers Forward has received request to duplicate its work in both the Bronx and Brooklyn. Fathers Forward Inc., will continue to build and improve its platform for conscientious community stakeholders (educators, medical professionals, social workers, entrepreneurs, etc.) to present information and inspiration for fathers and in the process, develop more effective and stronger ties between fathers/father-figures, their children, families and communities.
FATHERS FORWARD INC. PO BOX 953, NEW YORK ,NY 10037 PHONE: 646-543-0150