Fatherhood program will grow Dallas Co.

Published 8:08pm Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It’s not unusual that I walk out of Walmart with a whole new bag of issues in addition to my groceries. Sometimes the things you observe in a big store like that really expose you to other people and how different other people are. Sometimes I leave wanting to cry after seeing a mom yell at her kids or a husband not pay attention to his wife.

I get upset when I see families pushing carts of food for their children that is so unhealthy. I hurt for the children in the area that are given potato chips and Cheetos for lunch and dinner.

The things I see sometimes really eat me up. The wheels in my head start turning as I think about what difference could be made — what difference I could make in the world.

How can we lower disease and get families to eat healthier? How can we get Selma residents a job so they can buy more groceries than what an EBT card allows? How are we going to recruit more industry here so that can happen?

And how can we piece families back together that have been broken?

While covering various stories my mind can wander down this path too. I cover stories again and again of non-profits run by fabulous people who have found their calling in the world.

Some fight child abuse, some fight racism and some fight the disease battle. Everyone has an answer for what they think the root of the problem is in our nation and in our community.

District Judge Bob Armstrong, was part of a new initiative that recently launched in Selma and I feel it could be the answer to a lot of my questions about what the solution could be to all of these problems mentioned. One difference Armstrong noticed about our community is we not only have high rates for poverty and crime, but a very high rate of children being brought up in single-parent homes. He felt this is no coincidence — many problems stem from lacking a father figure in the home. According to Kid Count data released for Dallas County, roughly 60 percent of children in the county are in a single-parent household as of 2010. Isn’t it odd that 56 percent of children in Dallas County were living in poverty in 2010 also?

The great news is Armstrong, along with the Dallas County Family Resource Center, launched a Fatherhood Initiative program. It helps teach fathers paying child support, job training skills as well as giving them free parenting advice. It helps to get them employed and teaches them how to be responsible parents, because lets just face it — if you didn’t grow up with a father, you might need advice on how to be one. Parenting is no easy task, even for those who had great examples of fatherhood to look up to.

That is why I think this Fatherhood Initiative program really will make a full-circle difference. Fathers are irreplaceable. Our Heavenly Father taught us that.

I’m glad to serve a God who is bigger than all of the little problems that can overwhelm us. He has a plan for those families that are hurting and he still has a purpose for all of us. People can learn how to be a father by watching their own, if they don’t have one the Fatherhood Initiative will show them who God is. Our Heavenly Father is the best example out there.

I cannot wait to see the difference this program has made a year from now.

  • Nina

    The die was cast for these families many years ago when welfare was established. It is an unintended consequence of requiring that there be no wage earner (father) in the home to receive a check. We have sown to the wind. Why would we expect to reap anything other than the whirlwind? The war on poverty is lost. The casualties walk among us.

    • Terry Lewis

      There are a lot of casualties–nina– all one has to do is to read the paper and watch the news. Who do you see in the mug shots? Young black men,it’s pretty much a given that nearly all of them come from fatherless homes. My point is it’s not always because he doesn’t want to be there.There needs to be a serious overhaul– of hearts and of the family court system– to stop these casualties.

      • Nina

        Mr lLeo, all I see in the mug shots are men…not black or white… Overhaul the system all You want and we STILL have a lost generation. Or two or three. And without welfare reform, it, like hell, enlarges itself.

  • Terry Lewis

    LOL In all seriousness,pops, this is a good program but I hope the judge puts an effort in to reforming family law as a WHOLE,there are a lot of good fathers out there that faithfully pay their support and are denied visitation/custody of their kids by the custodial parent (ie: mother) which leads to these said problems. Real reform needs to focus on giving the non custodial parent–usually the father– fear and equal access to his children as well as payin reasonable and fair support that doesn’t sent him to the poor house…or to jail which doesn’t help the situation either.

  • pops

    Closing one eye may be the only answer to seeing half as many disgusting situations while visiting Wally World. pops

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