Yesterday was Father’s Day and here at Damascus Way we place a strong emphasis on the significant value of fathers and fatherhood. Many of our team members and the vast majority of our program participants are fathers and these relationships provide a fundamental basis for meaning and purpose in life. It is our conviction that meaningful connections between a father and their children is a key factor in reducing rates of recidivism and substance use. Studies show a strong correlation between involved fathers and healthier children:
“Research shows that when fathers are involved, their children are: 2 times more likely to go to college. 80% less likely to spend time in jail. [And] 75% less likely to experience teen pregnancy.”
The role of fathers in produce shaping and sustaining the welfare of their children is essential. Unfortunately, many fathers today face significant obstacles in their parental roles. Some of these barriers, especially for single fathers, are economic (there are currently nearly 2 million single fathers), while others are cultural or institutional. Many fathers face significant challenges and biases with custody and/or visitation rights for their children (Cynthia A. McNeely “Lagging Behind the Times: Parenthood, Custody, and Gender Bias in the Family Court in the Family Court,” Florida State University Law Review Volume 25, Issue 4 (915-923). A whopping 40% of divorced fathers have not seen their children in at least a year. Furthermore, cultural and social expectations put added pressure on fathers. Interestingly enough, in a 1999 poll, an overwhelming 72% of Americans reported that the issue of uninvolved fathers is one of the most critical dilemmas for families around the country (National Center for Fathering).
At Damascus Way, we recognize the inherent dignity and power of a father. We celebrate each and every step our men take towards being healthy and involved fathers. If you’re interested in learning more about the work we do with dads, please check out our Destiny Dads program!
Today, we also want to celebrate and recognize the importance of the Juneteenth Holiday. Juneteenth, which has been celebrated since 1866 and was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, commemorates the date when the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached slaves in Texas towards the end of the Civil War. The holiday is an important cultural and collective celebration, reminding Americans of our past and the sorrows and joys of our national history. We take this time to acknowledge the historical significance of this moment for African-Americans and the pursuit of a more just and perfect union for all citizens of these United States.