Inspired by President Obama’s Fatherhood & Mentoring Initiative, seven-time NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade hosted a Responsible Fatherhood Roundtable discussion and recognition ceremony with a group of individuals who exemplify the goals of the President’s initiative. While I was encouraged by Dwayne’s remarks, I was also impacted by the local individuals who joined us at this meeting that exemplify and promote responsible fatherhood.
Photo, Front Row from Left to Right: Sean Forehand (Manager, Orange County LINOS Program), Eugene Schneeberg (Director, DOJ Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships), Dwyane Wade, and Joshua DuBois (Special Advisor to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships)
- Bryan Nelson, coordinator of the Boot Camp for New Dads program in Orlando, uses his passion everyday to teach new dads the importance of their participation and leadership.
- Anthony “Tony” Washington is a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, a dad, grandfather and a mentor.
- Anselmo Nieves, a compassionate dad dedicated to balancing work and spending time with all three of his sons including his youngest, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as an infant.
- Larry Darnell Robinson, a dad who was raised in foster care and group homes himself, is now the proud father of a beautiful four year-old daughter whose story demonstrates how people can overcome tremendous obstacles and still be a great fathers.
- Dexter Nelson, a hands-on single father of three children, serves as the Fatherhood Ambassador for the Pine Hills Head Start program.
- Jim Werner, founder of Circle Christian School, has a passion for families and challenges parents and students to understand that education must go beyond academic accomplishment, encouraging his students to develop skills that focus on relationships, character, and full engagement with life.
- Karen Wint, who has been a foster parent to roughly 40 children, works with her local Boy Scouts pack to engage more fathers in activities because she recognizes the value of positive male role models.
- Raheem Sharpe, a hard working teen father to his son, benefits from having a mentor who can help him navigate the challenges of being a young father.
- Sean Forehand, Sr., manages the Low Income Non-custodial parent Outreach Service (LINOS) for the Dept. of Child Support Enforcement, where he focuses on outreach and education assisting soon-to-be and recently released fathers to get the tools they need to successfully support their families financially and emotionally.
- Rev. Jose Elias Gonzalez & his wife Jackie have been specializing in Family and Youth Ministry for over 20 years. Pastor Gonzalez emphasizes the important role that men and fathers play in their communities. He is the founder of PROTÉGÉ INC. a non-profit organization focused on mentoring and equipping the next generation with life skills.
Through each of their stories, it was amazing to highlight positive examples of the impact being made to turn the tide on father absence in our local communities.
Eugene Schneeberg is the Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Justice.