Holyoke,MA: Enlace de Familias Celebrates Nurturing Fathers Completion Ceremony

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Holyoke – Enlace de Familia staff celebrate during the Nurturing Fathers Program completion ceremony.(Submitted photo)
HOLYOKE — When Victor Andino walked into the Nurturing Fathers Program in Holyoke several months ago, he had a chip on his shoulder.

“I have been a father for 19 years. I didn’t think there was anything they could teach me,” said Andino, who was referred to the program like many men who participate. “But this program has really changed my life and the way that I will communicate with my children. I realized I had a lot to learn.”

Whether it’s a pre-release program through the prison system, referrals from the Department of Children and Families or the Center for Human Development or voluntary walk-ins, Enlace de Familias staff who run the program will take any father who is willing to learn.

The group recently celebrated a completion ceremony for the latest fathers to participate in the program, which runs in 15-week cycles several times throughout the year.

When Enlace’s executive director Betty Medina Lichtenstein first heard about the Nurturing Fathers Program over a decade ago, she knew Western Massachusetts had to become part of the solution and offer the program.

Medina Lichtenstein knows the harsh truth about what happens to many families when there is no father present.

According to data provided by Medina Lichtenstein:

63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes

90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes

71 percent of all high school dropouts are from fatherless homes

80 percent of all youths in prison grew up in fatherless homes

“There are a lot of services to help young, single mothers, but not so many for fathers,” Medina Lichtenstein said. “I knew that if we could get these fathers to come through the program, we would be making a difference not only for them but for their families, their children and ultimately our community.”

Enlace has a trained team of professionals including Roy J. Lichtenstein, who serves as the master trainer and program coordinator, and program facilitators Efrain Santana, Freddy De Jesus and Carmelo Solivan. They work with the fathers on parenting skills, teaching them about how to discipline their children but also how to be caring and engaged parents.

All of the fathers took a moment to speak about the kind of father they want to be. Some spoke from their hearts, others wrote down detailed notes, others only said a few words. Opening up and communicating is not easy for many of them, said Lichtenstein, who has worked with many fathers in the program.
“The program always provided the most encouraging messages, and I can’t stress how much we need this program in our community.” — Richard Kilpatrick

“I am always so proud of them because when they first come to us a lot of them don’t want to share or participate, but that’s not how we do things. We need all of the fathers to feel comfortable expressing themselves, their concerns and their fears with us because that’s how they develop the skills to be better parents,” he said.

Javier Melero is a 19-year-old father of a 1-year-old son. He said he hopes to be the best father he can. “I want to do the best for my children, give them love and affection, protect them and love them with all of my heart,” he said.

Jeff Pelky said he hopes to be a better father than his dad was to him. “I will always be there for my kids and put their needs before everything else. I will be the kind of father that never gives up on his family,” he said.

Mark Chevalier said he hopes to be his son’s father and friend. “Unfortunately, being a father does not come with an instruction manual. I have made my mistakes, but I want to be the kind of father that maintains my sense of humor with my son but will still set boundaries when needed. My son is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I want to be the best role model for him,” he said.

Richard Kilpatrick was another of the older fathers in the program. “I’m 46 years old and I’m a grandfather with two adult children, so I’m thinking coming in, ‘What can I be taught?’ I’m from a big family with a lot of traditions. What I got was what I was overlooking all the time: You have your children, but that doesn’t mean that you are a good father.

“You have to nurture that relationship. The program always provided the most encouraging messages, and I can’t stress how much we need this program in our community,” he said tearing up. “See they set me up, they left me for last because they know I’m sensitive.”

The event included a presentation with awards given to Jay Breines, the chief executive officer of Holyoke Health Center, and State Rep. Aaron Vega, D-Holyoke.

Breines received the Community Champion Award, given to a person who exemplifies community leadership through their actions, and Vega received the Community Alliance Award, given to a person whose overall work, leadership and dedication shape the character and vibrancy of communities in Western Massachusetts.

Vega said growing up he had a strained relationship with his father, Carlos Vega, a well-respected social activist who fought for Latino rights until his death four years ago.

“A lot of people talk about my dad, he was very good to the community, but he wasn’t a perfect dad either. There were times early on in my younger life when he wasn’t around,” he said. “We were able to make up for that in later life, and before he passed we had a great relationship … congratulations to all of the fathers.”

The event also included a celebration for those who completed the Managing and Parenting Program geared toward couples, married or unmarried, to help them improve their parenting skills.

The program is a partnership between the City of Holyoke and the Community Block Grant, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Greater Holyoke Coordinated Family and Community Engagement and others.

The Causal Effects of Father Absence

The Causal Effects of Father Absence

Annual Review of Sociology

Vol. 39: 399-427 (Volume publication date July 2013)
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-soc-071312-145704
Sara McLanahan,1 Laura Tach,2 and Daniel Schneider3
1Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544; email: mclanaha@princeton.edu
2Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853; email: lauratach@cornell.edu
3Department of Sociology and Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720; email: djschneider@berkeley.edu
Web of Science ®: Related Records ®
ABSTRACT

 

The literature on father absence is frequently criticized for its use of cross-sectional data and methods that fail to take account of possible omitted variable bias and reverse causality. We review studies that have responded to this critique by employing a variety of innovative research designs to identify the causal effect of father absence, including studies using lagged dependent variable models, growth curve models, individual fixed effects models, sibling fixed effects models, natural experiments, and propensity score matching models. Our assessment is that studies using more rigorous designs continue to find negative effects of father absence on offspring well-being, although the magnitude of these effects is smaller than what is found using traditional cross-sectional designs. The evidence is strongest and most consistent for outcomes such as high school graduation, children’s social-emotional adjustment, and adult mental health.

 

Father credits program for helping his family

Joe Johnson: Take Heart – A Father’s Perspective
Posted Feb. 28, 2014
Jason loves his four kids. He is proud to be living with his wife and children in their newly purchased home. Not long ago, however, he was struggling with the stress of a number of issues, including unemployment and loss of custody of his children.

      Read more, click link:

      http://www.sjahs.org/TakeHeart-Feb28.html

Strengthening (Canadian) Families One Dad at a Time

Gary Jenkins smiles broadly as he holds up his graduation certificate. It’s the first one he’s ever received, and now he’s keen to get many more. What’s truly unique is his choice of course to achieve it: the Nurturing Father’s Program (NFP) created by Mark Perlman, a Florida Supreme Court certified family mediator. The county’s first 13-week NFP was run by the Highlands Community Pregnancy Care Centre (HCPCC) this spring. Single father Jenkins and four other dads graduated in June. Jenkins, 26, is by turns quiet and exuberant. He has two sons and would like a bigger role in their lives. “I’m beyond patient now,” says Jenkins. “I do everything different now. My whole life’s kind of changed in a way.”

HCPCC provides pre and postdelivery support to women faced with an unplanned pregnancy and support or post-abortion trauma. President Julie Goodwin says clients often wish similar versions of some support programs were available for fathers. Goodwin recently took a webinar featuring the NFP and found it was designed for a wide audience – not only single dads, but also perhaps a teacher who recognizes he’s a role model, or a grandfather raising his grandchild. NFP topics include discipline withoutviolence, managing anger and resolving conflict, communication and problemsolving, teamwork with spouse/partner, and the joys of fathering. Goodwin proposed the program to the HCPCC board. Director Ron Mahler watched the webinar and recommended purchasing the curriculum. The board approved. The course and materials were free to participants thanks to several community partners. When the nonprofit HCPCC sent out letters requesting support, “I was blown away by the response,” says Goodwin. “It was a tremendous encouragement.” Mahler and Goodwin’s husband, Terry, who has 25 years of social services experience, served as trained facilitators“For me it was a no-brainer,” says Terry. “The program uses a lot of the same premises that different cognitive behavioural approaches use – anger management, partner assault.” The group found space at Haliburton’s Full Gospel Lighthouse. Pastor Doug Ross dropped in halfway through the program and stayed on. “I saw the reaction of the young men as they were just readily receiving all this information, that they could change their lives, they could become better dads, and they were so willing to accept the responsibility,” says Ross. Jenkins was seven when his father died. Essentially he was raised by his grandfather. “He taught me to be responsible,” says Jenkins. “I guess I was just too young and arrogant… I wasn’t listening, but I never forgot.” Jenkins was recently released from jail after 11 months. He moved away from his old friends and accompanying temptations, settled in the county took the NFP program and joined a 12-step program. Ross and the Goodwins talk about the connections that developed among the program facilitators and participants despite age differences. “Men being men, they don’t talk about this stuff,” says Terry. “This was sort of a safe place, and it took a while to getthere where they would talk, but then they would see the other two facilitators [Doug and Ron]… had some of the same struggles as they had, so they would relate and they would open upand they would talk about it.” “Take the program,” Jenkins recommends. “It’s very, very worth it and you’re going to see some changes, very good, big changes in your life and your family’s life.” “It’s definitely going to make a difference for the kids, and guaranteed that the mothers are going to be 10 times better,” he continues. “We do the program, we understand the program she just sees the change that you are doing [for] you and your children.” “You’re wise beyond your years young man,” says Ross. “It took me 40 years to realize that.” Jenkins says he plans to take the course again. Terry and Ross also plan to take it. They are also planning a monthly gettogether to provide continued support and fellowship for the grads. While the NFP is not faith-based, they’re calling the graduate group “A Wing and a Prayer.”

HCPCC is planning another NFP for the fall, perhaps in Minden, and Julie is looking ahead to what a follow-up program might look like. Unable to attend their graduation ceremony, Mahler wrote an address to the fathers, saying it was “neat to be able to just be ourselves as men and dads, no judgment – only support and understanding.” “May we apply the grace we gave to each other, to our children and their mothers. May the past few months be a launching pad for better things ahead.”

To register for the fall NFP, contact
HCPCC at 705-457-4673.

By Lisa Harrison
Contributing writer, The Highlander
Issue 91,
July 11, 2013

Anatomy of a FATHER by Sachin Trivedi (Our NFP Contact in Ahmedabad, India)

F : Fun

A : Accessible

T : Thoughtful

H : Husband

E : Encouraging

R : Responsible & Roaring

 

Fun:

Fun changes the way we do things for better!!!! This is the slogan used in a campaign “fun theory” promoted on YouTube by Volkswagen Group; and i fully support to the fact that Fun brings around a change for the better… Try to bring the element of Fun in whatever you do with your kid and see how well it is responded by your child.
Try to act as if you are chasing the germs away in a fight with them while brushing the teeth and eventually you will see a super hero in your child who has chased away all the germs with a superb brushing session!!! the child will wait for the time of brushing the teeth’s “Twice a Day” 
Make funny songs for the family members, friends, and daily chores; make a family anthem.
Cook a meal together while making music with utensils, it will bring a cheer to the process. Characterize the ingredients like Mr. Salt, Mrs. Chilly, Curly Coriander, Sweety Pie Sugar, Tangy Tomato and so on…
Tell a story while making funny noises about the characters or animals involved in the story. Jump & act around like the characters. Try to make it Live, try to make it more Fun. Years later your child will remember the experiences and definitely he’ll say that “Dad was Fun”
Your Kids Childhood will come only once in his life; you have a choice, make it Fun 

Accessible:

A stitch in time saves nine. If you wish your child should never get lost or distracted, then don’t be lost to them, be yourself accessible to them during their childhood.
Spending time with your child will help you to understand them better. You will learn to identify their strengths, emotions, likes, dislikes, tastes & preferences.
Here you don’t have a choice; it’s imperative to give MAXIMUM “QUALITY” TIME to your Children.
Don’t be on phone while listening to your child; either the person on phone or your child, any one of them can wait, and you know who could wait at that time.
Bring work life balance especially when it comes to upbringing of your children
LISTEN when your child wants to say something to you; be a good audience if you want a good player out of your child.
Your time is an investment for a return which will be passed on even to your generations to come.

Thoughtful:

Fathering has to be a selfless act, a Kind gesture, a thoughtful action, a sympathetic approach, an attentive association.
Small acts of selflessness can sow the seeds of a greater value in your child
Say a thank you to the liftman each time you use the lift in your building.
Say a thank you to the security guard who helps open & close the door.
Treat all the people with utmost respect.
Nurture your kids well. Be thoughtful or be ready to have kids who are thoughtless!!!

Husband:

If you wish to be a good father then you have to be the best husband.
Loving your Childs mother is the foundation of trust, care & love for your child.
Your Children will be good at relationships, they will be emotionally strong.
They will display a sense of togetherness while in a team, in the family, in their lives.
Appreciate your wife whole heartedly, show her respect, communicate, trust, cheer, motivate, support, collaborate with her at home; your child will realise these values early on in life.
Your wife is your better half, so be the best to express it…

Encouraging:

Encouraging is an emotional connect. Emotional connect is through heart. Heart is the core of everything.
“The working senses are superior to the body, mind is higher than the senses, intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he (the soul) is even higher than the intelligence”
Encouragement is all about instilling confidence in your child. It’s all about making her realise the potential she has. It’s all about making the child feel proud about herself.
Your spending time with your child could be an encouragement.
Your visiting her school for parent intervention could be an encouragement
Your reading a story to her could be an encouragement
Your playing with her could be an encouragement
Your Listening to her can be an encouragement
Your every engagement with your child is an encouragement
encourage >>> enhance >>> emotional quotient

Responsible:

A responsible father displays his responsibility in every action.
At times it could be an adverse economic situation at home, but a responsible father always knows that the adverse situation is temporary, and things will be fine again with his efforts and faith. And, while the time advances towards better economic situation, the Father precisely takes care that he takes the “right path” to do so and does not practice any unethical behaviour which can cause a dent in his responsibilities towards fathering.
In sound economic condition, he ensures to share his wealth for making the society a better place to live, thus creating an exemplary practice of Responsible Fathering.
It’s a fathers responsibility to nurture his children with utmost love & care
It’s the fathers responsibility to instil confidence & empathy in their children
It’s the fathers responsibility to create a value based culture for their children & the family
A Responsible Father Nurtures a Holistically Developed Child, such Children make a superior Society, Superior Societies makes a progressive Nation and a Happier world…………..

Roaring:

You have to be a Roaring Father…
Your Roar should be heard around the world, a roar of a “FATHER”
Spread the roaring Cheer… Spread the roaring happiness…
A Roar of love
A Roar of nourishment & care
A Roar of confidence
A Roar of encouragement
A Roar for smiles
A Roar for making this world a happier place

Your choice; you can Furore or you can Roar……  Roar of a FATHER

“The Nurturing Father’s Program has Changed my Life”

 

                The nurturing father program has changed my life.  Life’s circumstances kept my son and I from being in each other’s lives until he was nine years old.  At that point I obviously didn’t know how to be a father.  My father and I tended to avoid each other while I was growing up so there was no help there. 

                When Trevor moved in, there was a lot of arguing and fighting.  After about a year, I was referred to the Nurturing Family Center.  I was amazed and relieved that the program was free.  I went into the class skeptical, but decided the techniques were worth a try.  I noticed within two weeks Trevor and I were arguing less.  Every week life in my house kept getting easier.  After approximately four weeks I noticed that not only was life easier, but we were talking more.  Trevor was a shy kid, didn’t really know how to express his feelings and then seemingly overnight he was talking to me about everything going on in his life.  By the end of the twelve week program, my house runs like clockwork, and more importantly, my son smiles and laughs, a lot.  Our relationship has strengthened to the point that our family counselor told us that we don’t need to go anymore.  Counseling can’t do anything for us that we haven’t already done (and do every day).

                After seeing the success of everything I worked on with Trevor, I decided to adapt the techniques and reconnect with my dad.  I was again amazed with the results.  It’s been about four months since my program has ended, and in that four months my dad and I have talked more than we have in the last 18 years.  I am finally getting to know the man that raised me and I’m grateful for this opportunity.  Even my mom has commented that since we’ve been talking, the entire family has been closer. 

                My family life has changed so much because of this program.  I can’t thank everyone enough.  I am eternally grateful to Chris, Tom, and everyone involved with this organization.  I am now an overall happier person because of how strong my family has become.

received on June 27, 2012

Maternal support in early childhood predicts larger hippocampal volumes at school age

Early maternal support has been shown to promote specific gene expression, neurogenesis, adaptive stress responses, and larger hippocampal volumes in developing animals. In humans, a relationship between psychosocial factors in early childhood and later amygdala volumes based on prospective data has been demonstrated, providing a key link between early experience and brain development.

To read the full article, go to
http://listserve.icfi.com/t/410347/524794/11308/0/