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The Father Factor

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Will you join the 12 Dollars, 12 Months, 12 Dads challenge?

We have exciting plans for 2013 to reach more dads, help more families, and advocate on behalf of responsible fatherhood - with the ultimate goal of improving child well-being and creating a world in which every child has a 24/7 Dad ℠.  But we need your help.

As we start 2013, will you join our 12 Dollars, 12 Months, 12 Dads challenge?  

It costs $12 to provide a dad with one of NFI's evidence-based fatherhood handbooks to help him build his fathering skills.  We are looking for 100 people to commit to donate $12 a month to help one dad every month.  If we reach that goal, together we will equip 1,200 extra dads in 2013 with resources to help them connect with their children heart-to-heart!

Will you be one of our team of 100 giving $12 a month to help a dad?

InsideOut DadFor example, 24/7 Dad$12 gives an incarcerated father an InsideOut Dad™ handbook to help him connect with his child even while behind bars and build a successful reentry plan for when he returns to his family.

Or, $12 gives a dad in a community like yours a 24/7 Dad™ handbook to help him build fathering skills like communicating with his child, working with mom, and understanding the impact of his relationship with his own father.

Each time a dad completes one of NFI's evidence-based, tested and proven programs, a child is more likely to benefit from a dad who is involved, responsible, and committed.  You can help make that happen.

Joining the 12 Dollar challenge is an easy but significant way to make a difference in the lives of kids.  Plus, all donations are tax deductible!

Will you take the challenge?

 

Donations represent a gift to the entire mission of NFI. To help the most number of children and families, we use your gifts where they can do the most good by pooling them with the gifts of others. And, because you are helping to change children’s lives, your gift is tax deductible!

Give a Second Chance to Dads Like Shawn

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UPDATE: A generous donor has offered to match dollar-for-dollar all donations given to our “Give a Second Chance” campaign through September 30, the end of our fiscal year. Your donation will now have double impact!

And don’t forget – anyone who donates $100 or more this month will receive a copy of Choosing Fatherhood: America’s Second Chance, an inspiring book of photography and stories of dads who have been impacted by National Fatherhood Initiative’s fatherhood programs in their local communities – and by your support that makes our work possible!

One of those dads is Shawn Kennedy, of Mobile, Alabama. NFI’s programs for new dads helped him get the right start in his fatherhood journey and connect heart-to-heart with his brand new baby daughter. Shawn told Lewis Kostiner, author and photographer of Choosing Fatherhood, about what he learned from NFI’s fatherhood program.

describe the imageShawn Kennedy […] and his wife lived in a small and lovely vintage South-style bungalow in Mobile. I had spent a few days with his father-in-law, who was taking Milt Scott from National Fatherhood Initiative and me around to meet the fathers in the area. Shawn has this beautiful baby girl in his arms, whom he carried with him all over the house. He even wore a shirt and tie for the picture. After I took the picture, I sat with him at his dining room table, and we talked. He said he was always open to learning how to become a better father. He told me [he] had taken some classes with NFI and learned a great deal about small things about fatherhood he never thought about. He was very clear with me: his family’s faith in the Lord gave him the strength to be a good and loving dad. I imagined he would be, always.

Because of the financial support of friends like you, we are able to help dads like Shawn be involved with their children and build their fathering skills no matter what stage of parenting they are in. Sometimes, the support and inspiration these dads find through our programs is the second chance they and their families need.

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Your financial support is crucial to reach more families like Shawn’s. Will you make a donation before September 30? We have almost crossed the finish line for this fiscal year and your donation will be the final push we need to end strong and get started on our plans to help more dads next year.   

Thanks for your support!

End Father Absence: Give a Second Chance to Dads Like Steven

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NFI’s fiscal year ends on September 30 and we are celebrating the end of an impactful year by sharing stories of real-life dads and their children who have found second chances through our work in their communities. 

Steven Gonzales of Sacramento, California, is one of those dads.  Photographer Lewis Kostiner met him as he traveled around the country at his own expense photographing and interviewing dads who participated in NFI’s fatherhood programs in local communities.  Mr. Kostiner shared his impressions of Steven’s relationship with his son in his book Choosing Fatherhood: America’s Second Chance.

describe the imageSteven Gonzales worked fourteen-hour days, seven days a week.  He lived amongst the ghosts of bygone eras of vintage cars.  Steven was the owner of the body shop that consumed him.  He also was a father who taught his children by example.  He told me that he regretted not being home for dinner every night, sometimes having to run out to give an estimate.  He told him his heart hurt when he had to do this.  Steven and his son took me on a tour of the body shop.  We visited the paint shop, rich in the aroma of the freshly sprayed paint.  His son was so proud of his dad.  My presence with the camera made the young boy feel important.  He knew his father to be a very special person and that I was sent there to take this famous person’s picture.  Steven and his son posed so proudly in front of the blue, beat-up Cadillac.  I envied that boy and the life he had with his father.  When I was done, they gave me a red t-shirt with the name “RED STAR California Original” [the name of the body shop] on the front of it.  I felt as special as the son when I left.

NFI is active in communities like Steven’s, helping dads in all walks of life build their fathering skills and connect with their children.  In some cases, the support and inspiration these dads find through our presence in their communities is the second chance they and their families need.

Your financial support is crucial to reach more families like Steven’s.  As we end the fiscal year on September 30, will you make a donation to help us finish this year and start next year strong?  We have almost reached our fundraising goal for the year, and your contribution will get us across the finish line and help even more dads and families next year.

describe the imageAs a special “thank you,” we will send a FREE copy of Choosing Fatherhood: America’s Second Chance to anyone who donates $100 or more.  Of course your gift of any amount helps us reach our goal for the fiscal year and start our next year of work strong.

Thanks for your help!

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Help Us Give a Second Chance to Dads Like Marvin

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National Fatherhood Initiative is nearing the close of our fiscal year at the end of September.  We have a lot of exciting things planned for FY-2013 and we’re looking forward to bringing you more expert advice for dads, fatherhood perspectives on events in pop culture and the news, and practical resources to help you in your fathering journey.

But we can’t do this without your support.  We need to raise an additional $20,000 by the end of the month to enable us to activate the plans we have to change the lives of more dads and families next year. 

describe the imageMarvin Charles of Seattle, Washington, (pictured here with his wife, son, and father) is one of the dads whose life has been touched by National Fatherhood Initiative’s work.  His example as a role model and his commitment to helping others is impacting dads in his community who need a second chance.

Marvin’s story was captured by Lewis Kostiner, a photographer who traveled around the country at his own expense to meet dads who participated in NFI’s fathering programs through their local communities.  Mr. Kostiner’s photographs and the stories of these families are collected in an inspiring book, Choosing Fatherhood: America’s Second Chance.

Mr. Kostiner describes the role that Marvin plays in the lives of other dads and his own son:

Marvin Charles [...] spent most of his time keeping tabs on all the fathers and children in the National Fatherhood Initiative program whom he helped in his district. He picked them up and dropped them off and told them how to do this and how to do that. He never looked down on any of them, and his presence helped organize and prepare the children for their everyday journeys and, for the men, fatherhood. His clients struggled daily to survive, and he knew it. He did what he could to help them along. […] Marvin was a real community organizer, in the true sense. He was […] [there] to help kids and their dads. In his son's eyes, Marvin could easily have been elected Mayor of Seattle. Marvin carried his family's picture around with him all day long on his T-shirt, right in front of his heart.

Marvin and the dads he helps represent real-life families whose lives have been changed through NFI's work.  These "second chances" are possible because of the support of people just like you.  

Donate now and get a free book!Will you help us give a second chance to more families in the next year? 

Donate $100 or more today and we will send you a FREE copy of Choosing Fatherhood: America's Second Chance.

If you can't donate $100 or more, any amount will make a difference in helping us reach our goal for the fiscal year and start next year on the right foot!  Thanks for your support!

Donate Now

Help Us Reach Dads and Help Kids Through Texting

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Did you know that 25% of Americans access the Internet through their smartphones instead of a computer?  That means millions of dads are not accessing National Fatherhood Initiative's web-based resources.
 
We want to deliver our expert fathering advice directly into dads’ hands through a brand new text messaging campaign, but it will cost $2,750 to create and maintain the new platform.

As a reader of this blog, you know how important it is that children have involved, responsible, and committed fathers.  You also know that our resources are making a difference across the nation by helping men learn how to connect with their kids heart-to-heart.
 
Texting LDD graphWe're looking for 110 people to donate just $25 each by August 12 to help us raise funds needed to create this new tool to reach more dads who currently don’t have access to our information.  Not only that, but if you are part of that 25% of who prefers to use your phone instead of the computer, your donation will go towards a resource that you can use too!  

Will you be one of the 110?  Donate $25 (or more!) today.

Climb Mountain, Get Water: The Father Factor in Kenna's Cause

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I recently attended the 10th annual Cause Marketing Forum (CMF) conference in Chicago to learn about how non-profits and corporate brands can support important causes together. During the conference keynote, musician Kenna made a special appearance to share about Summit on the Summit – a campaign he created raising awareness and funds to provide clean drinking water by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

Working at NFI has given me “fatherhood glasses” and what stuck out to me from Kenna’s story was that it was his dad who inspired him to create this campaign.

Kenna is an Ethiopian-born American musician. He told the audience at CMF that he attempted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to celebrate his second album but could not finish due to a reaction to anti-altitude medication.

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When his dad asked him why he wanted to climb the mountain, Kenna replied that he felt like he hadn’t reached his life’s mountain yet. His dad reminded him that he had been born at 19,000 feet altitude and perhaps he didn’t need the anti-altitude medication. “You were made to climb that mountain, Kenna,” his dad said. “Maybe you have added something artificial to your life, like the medication, that is keeping you from reaching your life’s mountain.”

Kenna’s dad told him he wanted to dig a well in his native country, Ethiopia, to provide clean drinking water. Though he was born in Ethiopia, Kenna grew up in the United States and he took clean drinking water for granted.

Then, he learned that his dad had almost died from a waterborne disease that left him in great pain through his teen years. This disease killed many others in his community. Around the world, over one billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water.

Kenna says his father’s experience with this global crisis made him realize his dad did not come to America and provide a good life for his family just so his son could walk a red carpet and be famous. His father’s story and his close relationship with his dad motivated Kenna to help his dad fulfill his dream of providing clean drinking water to his native community and others in need around the world.

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Kenna created Summit on the Summit to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with a team of celebrities (including Lupe Fiasco, Emile Hersch, and Jessica Biel), humanitarian workers, corporate brands like HP, and the United Nations.

The extreme nature of their effort was intended to raise awareness of the extreme need for clean water. Watch a video about this project here.

The campaign was successful! Months later, Kenna returned to Ethiopia, which includes some of the driest parts of the earth, to dig a well 50 yards from where his father had contracted a waterborne illness years before. Kenna continues to campaign for access to clean drinking water even though his climb is done.

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Kenna says, “Everything I wanted to accomplish as an artist I had done. I wanted to do something that would impact the world, but I never thought I’d do that by impacting my own family. It’s been the most meaningful existence.”

At NFI, we say “fathers change the world one child at a time.” In this case, Kenna’s father truly made an impact on the world. His relationship with his son motivated his son to devote himself to a cause close to his father.

While your children may not have the celebrity status Kenna was able to leverage for an important cause, you are making a difference everyday by shaping what your children care about and value. You never know what they will be motivated to do because you invested in their life.

How have you been inspired by your dad?

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