As families across the country make plans to celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, the Administration is releasing Promoting Responsible Fatherhood, a report that describes the Administration’s long-standing commitment to encourage all fathers to take responsibility for their children’s intellectual, emotional and financial well-being.
The report being released today looks back at what we’ve been able to accomplish to promote responsible fatherhood, and looks forward to what more we can do, together, to foster healthy families.
Working for President Obama is an incredible privilege, but my greatest honor is to be the proud father of three beautiful children. This week, I was reminded again of the enormous joy of fatherhood as I watched my eldest son graduate from high school. It was by far one the most fulfilling moments of my life. My wife, our six-year-old daughter, and I sat in the audience, feeling so blessed and so happy to witness his accomplishment. My son: the graduate. He’s never looked better, and I’ve never been prouder.
Like many other parents who work extremely demanding jobs, I know that special moments like graduations, Saturday morning soccer games, and dance recitals are so precious. And it’s amazing how those moments slip by so quickly. As I watched the graduation ceremony, it seemed like it was just yesterday that I held my eldest son in my arms for the first time. I didn’t know where his little life would lead, but I knew that I would love him unconditionally and try my hardest to walk him through those tough life lessons, as my mom and my adopted dad did for me.
President Obama knows the vital role that fathers play in the lives of our children. As a dad of two beautiful young girls and as a son growing up without the presence of his father, the President recognizes that the most important, most challenging, and most fulfilling job he’ll ever have is to be Sasha and Malia’s dad.
President Obama reminds us that we all have a stake in forging stronger bonds between fathers and their children. Children don’t need us to be superheroes; they just need us to be active in their lives, to love them, and to set a good example.
That’s why for the past three years, President Obama has led the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, a multi-year effort to help dads connect to their families and to raise awareness about responsible fatherhood. We also recently released a Promoting Responsible Fatherhood report, which looks back on what we’ve accomplished to promote fatherhood, and looks forward on how we can build on that foundation.
In that spirit, President Obama’s Fatherhood & Mentoring Initiative and the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse are excited to kick off the “Fatherhood Buzz.” It’s an program that will work with barbershops to connect dads with local resources to help build stronger families. Every couple months, dads and their barbers participating in the initiative will get a different “buzz” topic to discuss at the barbershop.
Today, at this make-or-break moment for working Americans, economic stability and getting good jobs are at the top of our priority list. So, this quarter, the “buzz” is all about financial literacy and job training. Because it’s up to us to work hard to secure our families and plan for the future, for us and for our kids.
At the end of the day, dads have a responsibility to give parenting our best effort. That means showing up and making the right decisions each day to be a good father. Even if you weren’t the best dad in the past, today is a new day and the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative is just one of the many programs out there that can help.
I’m certainly not the perfect father. I’ve missed quite a few dinners and special occasions because of work, but my family is always my top priority. When I truly reflect on all that I have done in my life, nothing can compare to the satisfaction I feel when I spend time with my 15-year-old autistic son at the park, read a bedtime story to my little girl, or watch my oldest son prepare to go to college. That pride is a feeling that many dads know well, and it’s enough to keep you going through all the tough times that life may bring.
And let’s remember that parenting can be a great partnership. So, in honor of my beautiful and remarkable wife, I can’t think of a better gift this Father’s Day than the love and support she has given me, along with my three amazing children-I can’t thank them enough.
Michael Strautmanis is Deputy Assistant to President Obama and Counselor for Strategic engagement to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Strautmanis is also a proud dad of three children and celebrates his 20th wedding anniversary in August.
Repost from The White House Blog
President Obama celebrated Father’s Day a little early with four dads at Kenny’s Barbeque Smokehouse in Northeast Washington, DC. The four fathers, two active duty members of the military and two long-time local barbers from Mason’s Barbershop, talked about the rewards and challenges of fatherhood as well as the joy and anxiety fathers experience watching their children grow up.
President Barack Obama talks with four fathers participating in the the new HHS "Fatherhood Buzz" campaign, as they wait for their lunch at Kenny’s BBQ Smokehouse in Washington, D.C., June 13, 2012. Joining the President, from left, are: Nurney Mason; 1st Lieutenant William Edwards of the U.S. Army; Otis Gamble; and CPT Joubert Paulino of the U.S Army. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President talked about his support for military families along with the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden through Joining Forces. The President also discussed “Fatherhood Buzz,” a new initiative in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designed to reach out to dads with positive information through their barbers and barber shops, as part of the Administration’s longstanding Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. Each quarter will feature a different “buzz” topic – the topic for the first quarter is financial literacy and job training. The initiative is taking place across the country this weekend, including at Mason’s Barber Shop on H Street Northeast in Washington, DC. Nurney Mason, who joined the President for lunch today, has operated Mason’s Barber shop for over 51 years.
Meet the four dads who had lunch with President Obama yesterday to discuss fatherhood
1st Lieutenant William (Bill) Edwards of the U.S. Army is currently based at Fort Jackson in South Carolina where he lives with his wife of 13 years, Esther, and their four children. Lt. Edwards was recently honored by the National Fatherhood Initiative with the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award. He was deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division Band in 2007-2008 for 14 months in Iraq. While he was deployed, he sent a flag that had flown over Camp Victory headquarters in Iraq to his daughter's preschool as a reminder of how much he cared about his family.
Captain Joubert Paulino of the U.S. Army is currently based at Fort Meade in Maryland along with his wife of 16 years, Ginamarie, and their two children Jonah, age 6, and Julia, age 4. CPT Paulino uses his will for adventure to stay connected with his children. For example, he involves his children in the selection process of states or countries where they would like to start an adventure or experience of a lifetime. CPT. Paulino continuously travels for his specialized emergency response team, and serves his country through biological and nuclear defense; however, CPT Paulino remains very involved in his son Jonah's Tiger Scout troop.
Nurney Mason operated Mason’s Barber Shop on H Street Northeast in Washington, D.C. for over 51 years and is one of the longest-standing business owners in the city. Nurney also cuts hair at the U.S. House of Representatives when he’s not managing his shop on H Street. Nurney has been married for over 30 years and has 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He co-owns Mason’s Barber Shop with his son, Robbie. Mason’s Barber Shop is a participant in the “Fatherhood Buzz” campaign.
Otis “Big O” Gamble is still an active barber at Mason’s Barber Shop, a participant in the “Fatherhood Buzz” imitative through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nurney Mason, the barbershop owner, hired Gamble 45 years ago, and they’ve been cutting hair together for decades. Mr. Gamble had a successful career in the U.S. Army and as a barber. He raised three wonderful children, including a son who is retired from the Army and a daughter who is currently a Major in the Army.
Later in the day, the White House Office of Public Engagement and Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships honored 10 individuals who are doing tremendous work in the field of fatherhood. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder delivered remarks at the event where they discussed the importance of fatherhood and healthy families to build stronger communities. The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s vision to recognize ordinary Americans who do extraordinary work to serve and strengthen communities around the country. Click here to see the full list of Fatherhood Champions of Change.
Joshua DuBois is Special Assistant to President Obama and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
More than a decade has passed since the last such comprehensive review of the responsible fatherhood field and much has changed in the interim. The Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being, directed by Dr. Ronald Mincy at the Columbia University School of Social Work, is currently undertaking a survey to review and assess the current state of the field.
The purpose of the program survey is to better understand details about program operations, such as funding sources, types of services offered, target client populations, use of program evaluation tools, and connections to the broader fatherhood field. The survey also contains a brief supplemental questionnaire for programs working with teen fathers.
If your agency operates a fatherhood program, please consider helping advance the responsible fatherhood field by participating in this important study. All participants (one per program) can enter a raffle to win an iPad. The survey contains 45 multiple choice and short answer questions, plus a brief (6 question) supplemental questionnaire for programs working with teen fathers. We estimate it should take no longer than 20-30 minutes to complete.
The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse Team
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Father’s Day event is back! Originally inspired by a New York City Housing Authority event, last year over 200 Public Housing Agencies (PHA) participated in the inaugural celebration for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Across the country, thousands of fathers, children, mothers and friends gathered for fun activities while learning about supportive services in their communities. You can watch this video that provides some of the highlights from last year and invites everyone to participate this upcoming Father’s Day.
This year, the Father’s Day celebration is back and we are bringing more “friends” to participate in the fun. HUD has reached out to other nonprofits, federal agencies and the private industry in order to provide PHAs with a variety of resources for their Father’s Day events. HUD already has commitments from the National Fatherhood Initiative, the National Football League Players Association, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America among others. As a result of these partners joining in this effort, Father’s Day offers PHAs the chance to improve the lives of residents through fostering stronger family connections while also giving PHAs the opportunity to form new partnerships with local organizations offering supportive services. To capture this expanded vision HUD is calling this initiative Reconnecting Families and Dads.
To make the most of these connections, HUD is filming “Reconnecting Conversations” with representatives from our partner organizations on how they can support local PHAs in their Father’s Day events. Our first segment was with Kevin McCartney of Boys and Girls Cubs; this conversation was exciting, informative and under fifteen minutes.
HUD looks forward to helping PHAS and families make many new connections through Father’s Day 2012. To learn more, visit www.hud.gov/fathersday2012 and check out the Webcast announcing the effort underway to support Reconnecting Families and Dads.
Please contact us with any question, comments or ideas at PIH_Fathers_Day_2012@HUD.gov.
We look forward to hearing from you!
- Celebrating Fatherhood in Public Housing Authorities
- What they’re saying about HUD’s Fathers Day 2011: Part 1
- What they’re saying about HUD’s Fathers Day 2011: Part 2
Ron Ashford is Director for Public Housing Supportive Services within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
As the tax filing deadline quickly approaches, many fathers and families are likely feeling some pressure. Tax season and the pressure of filing on time and correctly is stressful, but there are Federal programs out there to help. Programs working with fathers and families can connect with a wide range of resources, including connecting to tax credits and IRS-certified free tax preparation, to help ease the pressure.
The ASSET Initiative is a collaborative through which Administration for Children and Families (ACF) offices and partner States, localities, community-based providers are highlighting the importance of financial education and other asset building services for individuals and families.
The ASSET Initiative fact sheet on Tax Credits and Filing Assistance gives programs and organizations information and tips on connecting families to some of the tax assistance available to them. Many low-income families with children qualify for tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can help put up to thousands of dollars back in the hands of fathers and their families.
The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify, generally offers free tax help to people who make $50,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to qualified individuals in local communities. Families and programs can find a VITA site near them by visiting the IRS website or calling 1-800-906-9887.
The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse Team