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Fatherhood initiative: Strong Fathers Friday

Strong communities are made up of strong families, and strong families are made up of strong individuals.

In striving to build a stronger Pagosa, the Fatherhood Initiative through the Department of Human Services is building an idea: Pagosa supports fathers to build strong families.

The Fatherhood Initiative has been running several programs to support fathers and to connect them with other groups in the community that can support them in being strong fathers. It is not a new concept that strong fathers and mothers help build responsible, caring children; and that children are our community’s future. By investing in parents in our community, the Fatherhood Initiative and other community partners are making Pagosa stronger.

Why just fathers? Besides being the Fatherhood Initiative, the federal government has recognized that there are supports out there for mothers (we are not discounting the importance of moms) and that mothers more frequently utilize services that are in place. The grant that runs the Fatherhood Initiative is geared to get dads involved in the services that are already available, as well as offer specific programs that are of particular interest to men. If we can build up the fathers in our communities, we may have less moms who are facing raising their children without help or support from dad; together or not. We do recognize that there are many women out there that “act in the capacity of a father,” as well as grandparents or other family that sub in for that role and our programs are available for them as well. The services offered through the Fatherhood Initiative are available to all eligible persons, regardless of race, gender, age, disability or religion.

So, how can you show your support? A very simple first step is to participate in Strong Fathers Friday. The first Friday of every month (that is tomorrow, April 1), members of our community can show support by wearing their strong fathers shirt. You might see these on county commissioners, Department of Human Service employees, male mentors from the Pagosa Pregnancy Center, your pastor or priest, and on dads and moms who have participated in programs through the Fatherhood Initiative. This is a simple show of understanding and support in building up fathers in our community. If you or your business would like shirts to show your support, contact John Vick at 264-2182.

Upcoming events to look for: Strong Fathers, Fathers Day Event — Town Park on June 11. This event celebrates dad with fun and food. Last year, 250 people came down to show their support for Pagosa dads, participated in an airplane flying contest with their children, enjoyed hot links, brats and hot dogs, live music and free photos taken of dads and their kids, along with booths from local agencies that help support fathers in our community. We hope this year’s event will be even bigger as we come together as a community to build strong fathers!

And don’t forget to wear your Strong Fathers shirt the first Friday of every month.

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