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NFI Partners with U.S. Army to Place Fatherhood Resources on Installations Worldwide

NFI Fatherhood Skill-building Materials Being Distributed to New Parent Support Programs on 69 Army Installations

Germantown, MD (PRWEB) November 12, 2013

National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) has contracted with the U.S. Army to place its fatherhood resources on installations worldwide to support the Army’s New Parent Support Programs.

militarydad and daughter reunitedOver 117,000 fatherhood skill-building resources – including guides, brochures, tip cards, CD-ROMs, and more – are being distributed to 69 installations around the globe. This is the second “refill” of NFI resources that the Army has ordered; the initial set of materials was delivered by NFI in the fall of 2011, and the first refill was completed in the fall of 2012.

Working with the Army’s Installation Management Command (IMCOM), NFI continues to support the Army’s efforts to strengthen fatherhood and increase family resilience among Army families. Specifically, NFI’s programming is supporting the New Parent Support Program in its efforts to “help Soldiers and Family members who are expecting a child, or have a child or children up to 3 years of age, to build strong, healthy military families.” NFI’s programming is integrated into parenting classes and home visiting programs, and NFI fatherhood resource kiosks are displayed around the bases for easy access to the materials.

Examples of NFI materials the Army is making available for fathers and families is general parenting information contained in resources such as Dad’s Pocket Guide™, New Dad’s Pocket Guide™, Pocketbook for Moms™, and Pocketbook for New Moms™.

NFI is also providing the Army with military-specific materials such as the Deployed Fathers and Families Guide™, which helps military dads prepare for, endure, and return successfully from deployment.

nfi logo

At a time when thousands of military fathers are returning from long overseas deployments, it is critical that our nation’s military fathers receive the education and inspiration they need to embrace their roles as fathers and to build their relationship and parenting skills.

Tim Red, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, father, and NFI’s Senior Program Support Consultant for the Military, said, “Building the skills and confidence of our nation’s military dads is a key ingredient in building resilience in military families. NFI is proud to support the Army’s critical efforts to strengthen military families.”

Since launching its Deployed Fathers and Families program in 2001, National Fatherhood Initiative has become the nation’s leading provider of fatherhood-specific resources to the U.S. Military. NFI has delivered over 760,000 resources to all five branches of the military on bases all over the world, and has been listed on Military OneSource, the Department of Defense’s support service for military families.

As the premier fatherhood renewal organization in the country, National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), founded in 1994, works in every sector and at every level of society to engage fathers in the lives of their children. NFI is the #1 provider of fatherhood resources in the nation. Since 2004, through FatherSOURCE, its national resource center, NFI has distributed over 6.5 million resources, and has trained over 13,300 practitioners from over 6,100 organizations on how to deliver programming to dads. NFI is also the most quoted authority on fatherhood in America. Since 2009, NFI has been mentioned in over 3,400 news stories, and makes regular appearances in national media to discuss the importance of involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood.

Military Dads Serve as Doctor Dad, Too!

Being a military dad presents unique challenges - especially when it comes to deployment and fathering.

Dads can be away for long or extended periods of time due to deployment, and there are even situations when a military dad can't be present at his own child's birth. But that doesn't mean they can't benefit from learning the skills needed to be involved in the health, safety, and care of their baby. Military dads need to serve as Doctor Dad, too!

Military Dad and Facilitator in Doctor Dad session.

It's for reasons like these that the Army Community Service New Parent Support Program at Joint Base Lewis McChord offered the DoctorDad® workshop -- to increase self-assurance in new fathers by developing their parenting skills in the area of infant and toddler health.

DoctorDad® Workshops are presented as 60-90 minute stand-alone workshops, or as supplemental sessions to other fatherhood programming, and are great for new and expectant dads. The workshops help dads increase health literacy by providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully care for their young children right from the start —from keeping children well, to taking care of a sick child, along with preventing injuries, and creating a safe home. Dads at organizations across the nation, and on military installations, benefit from this helpful program. 

According to an article by The Northwest Guardian about DoctorDad being offered at Joint Base Lewis McChord:

No rank, no commission, no promotion compares to the privilege of making it to “Daddy.” No adventure seems as satisfying as cuddling your newborn and seeing her first smile. Yet for all the joys fatherhood brings, anxiety over caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. How to know what that incessant crying means, why she refuses to eat, why she is fussy?

Researchers point to the importance of father involvement regarding child’s safety and future development. According to a study by the National Fatherhood Initiative, children have up to 30 percent higher chance of getting injured when dads are not involved.

Private First Class Matthew Burkett of 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, (3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment) wasn’t aware of the statistics when he decided to take the DoctorDad® class. Burkett was just concerned with understanding his 7-month-old daughter’s fussing and crying. “When the baby cries, you run down the list wondering which one it is,” Burkett said.

DoctorDad Bundle

Each DoctorDad® Workshop is structured in two two-hour sessions. For example, one session covers infant well being and health issues (such as understanding why they might cry,) and also proper nutrition and immunizations. Another session deals with child safety and proper emergency response. Sessions provide an open and supportive environment where dads can ask questions, exchange stories, and share advice.

According to Venice del Mundo-Davis, New Parent Support Program home visitor for Joint Base Lewis McChord, "There aren’t a lot of classes out there for new fathers to go to. DoctorDad® class offers practical and useful points in getting through the first few years of taking care of a child. We are also trying to help fathers realize they play a unique role in caring for their kids.”

During the sessions, dads even participate in hand-on demonstrations of newborn care such as changing a diaper, swaddling techniques to calm a baby, burping positions, giving medications, SIDS (prevention,) and more. The goal is to help dads to learn how they can take part in the care of their newborn and be supportive of their partner.

The Northwest Guardian article continues:

Private First Class Burkett was not surprised to find out his post-session questionnaire answers were correct and that one of the most important things in becoming a new parent is being involved in the child’s life.

He said, “I came to this class to make sure I do all the right things to raise my little girl and what I learned was like a confirmation that I already am."

DocotorDad® Workshops are available as four separate workshops, or as a bundle
Download the Overview Sheet below for more information!
Portions of this post reposted from The Northwest Guardian, newspaper of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
 


Vote for the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award Winner!

Every year, National Fatherhood Initiative celebrates military fathers and families through our Military Fatherhood Award™.  We get hundreds of nominations and after narrowing down to four finalists, we turn to the American people to help us select an Awardee by voting on Facebook

Our finalists are going above and beyond in staying involved in their children's lives, despite the challenges of military life, and they are an inspiration to us.  We hope they'll inspire and encourage you too!

Ssgt Charlie Linville, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award FinalistSsgt Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps - a combat veteran and Wounded Warrior, Ssgt Linville insisted on attending his daughter's first karate competition the day after having his leg amputated and continues to plan activites with his daughters, despite daily pain.



CPO Patrick Mondragon, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistCPO Patrick Mondragon, U.S. Navy - CPO Mondragon was effectively a solo parent while caring for his wife and kids - and continuing to fulfill his military duties - during a life-threatening health complication his wife experienced. 

 


Ssgt Jorge Roman, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistSsgt Jorge Roman, U.S. Army - a first-generation American, Ssgt Roman is fulfilling the American dream for his children, teaches them art and fitness, and has continued to parent his daughters during overseas deployments.

 


Maj. Kevin Billups, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistMaj. Kevin Billups, U.S. Air Force - leaving for his eighth deployment in a few weeks, Maj. Billups is not only an involved father to his three children, he teaches other new military dads how to prepare for fatherhood and care for their little ones.

 

You can watch the videos their families created and vote for your favorite finalist on NFI's Facebook page.  Voting opens on Monday April 15 and closes on Sunday May 15.  You can vote once every 24 hours.

We're excited to introduce these wonderful dads as outstanding examples of fatherhood and to honor them for their service to the country.

Share this blog with other collegues and associates working in the fatherhood field!

Help us select the 2013 recipient of the Military Fatherhood Award!

Every year, National Fatherhood Initiative celebrates military fathers and families through our Military Fatherhood Award™.  We get hundreds of nominations and after narrowing down to four finalists, we turn to the American people to help us select an Awardee by voting on Facebook

Our finalists are going above and beyond in staying involved in their children's lives, despite the challenges of military life, and they are an inspiration to us.  We hope they'll inspire and encourage you too.

Ssgt Charlie Linville, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award FinalistSsgt Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps - a combat veteran and Wounded Warrior, Ssgt Linville insisted on attending his daughter's first karate competition the day after having his leg amputated and continues to plan activites with his daughters, despite daily pain.


CPO Patrick Mondragon, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistCPO Patrick Mondragon, U.S. Navy - CPO Mondragon was effectively a solo parent while caring for his wife and kids - and continuing to fulfill his military duties - during a life-threatening health complication his wife experienced.


Ssgt Jorge Roman, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistSsgt Jorge Roman, U.S. Army - a first-generation American, Ssgt Roman is fulfilling the American dream for his children, teaches them art and fitness, and has continued to parent his daughters during overseas deployments.

Maj. Kevin Billups, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistMaj. Kevin Billups, U.S. Air Force - leaving for his eighth deployment in a few weeks, Maj. Billups is not only an involved father to his three children, he teaches other new military dads how to prepare for fatherhood and care for their little ones.

You can watch the videos their families created and vote for your favorite finalist on NFI's Facebook pageVoting opens on Monday April 15 and closes on Sunday May 15.  You can vote once every 24 hours.

We're excited to introduce these wonderful dads as outstanding examples of fatherhood and to honor them for their service to the country.

Connect with The Father Factor by RSSFacebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor.

Expectant Deployed Dads: Not Getting What They Need?

How many times has this scenario played out over the last 11 ½ years since 9/11?

A wife (that is several months pregnant) kisses her husband goodbye as he prepares to board a plane for his year-long deployment to fight the war.

Military Dad and Baby

The term countless comes to my mind. And think about what is going on in that expectant deployed dad's head as he is serving around the world. One must ask whether his concerns/uncertainties/lack of knowledge as an expectant Father will impact his ability to conduct his mission?

A friend told me a story about a Facebook conversation between a deployed expectant Marine Dad, and his expectant wife back home (there were several of these conversations over a period of days). He was questioning her about doctor visits and why she had not informed him of the latest updates. In turn, he stated that he was frustrated because he could not help her and he did not know what to do. Bear in mind, these conversations were occurring in afternoon/early evening and there is a 10 ½ hour time difference between here and Afghanistan. After the call, not only did he become upset and frustrated, he will now be losing sleep over it too! Consequently, how ready is he now for the patrol he is going on the next morning? He's certainly not as ready as he should be because his mind is pre-occupied and his lack of rest. This has an immense impact on his ability to conduct his mission.

So how can you help an expectant deployed dad?

Most of these young men do take a personal laptop with them when they are deployed. Imagine turning around the above scenorio by providing him with fatherhood skill-building resources in advance of his deployment like When Duct Tape Wont Work, a self-paced CD-ROM that gives new dads the information and skills they need to care for their infant or toddler? He can use this resource on his own time to learn answers to his questions. And he can prepare himself, on his own time, so that he will be ready to care for his infant/toddler upon his return.

I had another young Marine Dad at Camp Pendleton tell me that he did not interact with his new baby for two months after he returned from his deployment. When I asked him why, he said that he was dealing with his own struggles and he knew that baby had all it needed right now – its Mother. But perhaps this was also because he was unsure about how to care for the baby, or that he did not understand how vitally important his role is in the life of that child? He could have taken the 24/7 Dad® Interactive CD-ROM with him while he was deployed and learned about Fathering at his own pace. I dare say, he would have had a different perspective about his role and value as a Father upon his return. And probably would have been more inclined to interact immediately with his new baby.

So let’s revisit the scenario I presented at the beginning to start this discussion, but with an addition:

A wife (that is several months pregnant) kisses her husband goodbye as he prepares to board a plane for his year-long deployment to fight the war.

Husband deploys with two fatherhood skill-building resources in his pocket: New Dad's Pocket Guide™ and Help Me Grow: The First Year? Now he would be able to engage in informed discussions with his wife about their new baby and he could ask informed questions about the growth/development of their child.

The more information we can provide to our military fathers prior to deployment, or even during deployment, the more likely they are to be less distracted by their uncertainties/frustration/lack of knowledge while away. Consequently, they are able to focus on their mission while away, and will be better equipped to be involved, responsible and committed Fathers upon their return.

Be sure to check out one of NFI's newest resources mentioned above, Help Me Grow Guides!

Nominate a dad for the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award!

Military Fatherhood Award: Honoring Military Fathers and Families
Every year, National Fatherhood Initiative honors a military dad who goes above and beyond in his service to the nation and his responsibility as a dad.

NFI's Military Fatherhood Award™ recognizes and celebrates a dad who:

  • demonstrates ongoing dedication to his children
  • puts in extraordinary effort to stay connected with his kids
  • successfully balances his military duties and family life
  • invests in other military fathers and children

If you know a great military dad, nominate him for the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ today!  Nominations close on Monday February 4 at 12:00 p.m. EST, and we can only accept the first 600 nominations, so submit yours quickly!  (See Terms and Conditions to answer most questions about the award program.)

Share this blog post using the buttons at the top of the post to let other military friends and family know about this opportunity to nominate their dad or a dad they know!

 

Sponsors of the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award:
as of January 17, 2013

Protect and Defend Sponsors

Nissan USA   Acumen Solutions, Inc.

Supporting Friends

Boy Scouts of America

 

If you are connected with a company that would be interested in sponsoring, contact Renae Smith at rsmith@fatherhood.org.  Download the sponsorship kit here.

Fathers, President Obama & BBQ!

Our 2012 Military Fatherhood Award recipient had a big day yesterday!

First Lt. William Edwards enjoyed an extra-special lunch yesterday with President Obama (Photo: ObamaFoodorama).Edwards and Obama

Edwards was then honored at The White House where NFI's President Roland Warren presented Lt. Edwards with his 2012 Military Fatherhood Award. Warren presented the award to Edwards at The White House "Champions of Change" event.

warren and edwardsThe USA Today reports, Obama salutes Father's Day with military lunch to honor Father's Day and the military.

Obama lunched with two serviceman and a pair of local barbers involved in the administration's campaign to promote better fatherhood.

"These guys are also young fathers, and they're doing great," Obama said during the lunch at the BBQ smokehouse in northeast Washington.

Obama said: "It turns out that with the father being involved, the kids are less likely to do drugs ... girls are less likely to get pregnant. And so that message is something that we want to make sure gets out there."

Watch video of the lunch here:

President Obama does well to point out that involved fathers matter. Absent fathers change everything. From incarceration and crime to teen pregnancy and childhood obesity (See Statistics on Father Absence).

Edwards is an example of an involved father. Lt. William (Bill) Edwards of the U.S. Army is the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award Winner.

Edwards is based at Fort Jackson in South Carolina where he lives with his wife of 13 years, Esther, and their four children. Lt. Edwards uses his musical and cinematic talents to stay connected with his four children before, during, and afterhis deployments. He was deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division Band in 2007-2008 for 14 months in Iraq.

Click here for more information on NFI's Fatherhood Award.

NFI Announces the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award Recipient!

describe the imageNFI received over 450 nominations from the wives, children, friends, and colleagues of our nation’s military dads. The votes are in and the public has picked its favorite dad...and the recipient of the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award™ is…Lt. William Edwards!

1st Lieutenant William Edwards of the U.S. Army serves at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and he uses his musical and cinematic talents to stay connected with his four children before, during, and after his deployments. He also helps other military dads stay connected to their children by making special effects filled action/comedy films with them they can send back home. Edwards is intentional in teaching his children the values they need to succeed in life.

Click here to watch Lt. Edwards’ home video, submitted by his wife and children, on why they think he was the best military dad!

Thank you and congratulations to all finalists -- Senior Airman Jonathan Jackson, U.S. Air Force and Lieutenant Dennis Kelly, U.S. Navy. Their bases, along with Lt. Edwards’ base, will receive a fully-stocked Fatherhood Resource Center kiosk from FatherSOURCE™, NFI’s fatherhood resource center.

Thanks to all the family, friends and fans who voted. Special thanks to Capital One, the lead sponsor of the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award™. Check out what they are doing for the military here.

Also, special thanks to Huggies for their sponsorship, in which they will donate a diaper to the National Diaper Bank Network for every vote we received for the award, along with thousands of diapers to the Lt. Edwards’ base.

Each year, NFI’s Military Fatherhood Award™ is given to a military dad who displays an ongoing commitment and dedication to his children, makes extraordinary efforts to father from a distance when deployed, successfully balances military and family life, and makes an effort to mentor other military fathers and/or military children who are separated from their fathers.

Please visit National Fatherhood Initiative for more details regarding the upcoming award ceremony for Lt. Edwards taking place before Father’s Day. 

Military Fatherhood Award Finalists on Fox & Friends

fox-and-friendsThis Sunday morning at 9:20 am eastern, tune in to Fox & Friends on the Fox News Channel to see our three Military Fatherhood Award finalists interviewed live!

And remember to cast your vote for your favorite once a day, every day until May 25 on NFI's Facebook page.

It Must Be Tough Being A Military Dad

In my previous job, I traveled around the country quite a bit by airplane. I got a kick out of seeing military personnel returning home to loved ones at some of the international airports I visited, and I loved seeing families and friends hugging and crying with one another after reuniting. I always imagined what a deep feeling of relief it was for families, especially fathers, who were deployed abroad to come back home to loving arms.

This week, a little girl in Utah got the surprise of her life during a show-and-tell in her elementary school class. Five-year-old Baylee was speaking in front of her kindergarten class talking about the things she loves. As her teacher helps her with the presentation, she then points to a photo of her father, which makes Baylee perk up a bit. The teacher then points to the left and her dad walks in with little Baylee leaping into her dad’s arms – so excited, the cute kid loses a shoe!

I defy anyone, no matter how tough they are, to hold back tears of joy after hearing Baylee excitedly wrap her arms around her father Sgt. Adam Page. “How did you ever make it,” said Baylee repeatedly as dad was overcome with emotion. Watching Sgt. Page hold his daughter was a priceless moment that none will ever forget.

Sgt. Page had been deployed to Afghanistan, and has since returned to his native Utah. It will be the first time he’s lived with his family since the birth of his little one. One must wonder, how tough was it on this dad while he was away from his family. I was away from my daughter for just 8 months once for work, and I was so sad without her. I can’t imagine the weight dads who serve in the name of our country have to carry.

Thankfully, there are resources and other helpful things that can assist military fathers while they’re deployed abroad. Video chats, email, letters and even simple phone calls can help ease the pangs caused by the distance. The rewards, if dads and families can be patient and loving, are moments like we saw between Baylee and Adam. It is beyond obvious that as much as he could be, Sgt. Page was a solid fixture in his child’s life.

For military dads soon to be deployed or already serving abroad, NFI offers a handy resource called Deployed Fathers & Families: Guide For Military Personnel. This guide provides fathers with great tips such as managing money, taking care of medical needs, and also covers legal matters as well. Click here to learn more about our offerings for military dads.

And don’t forget there’s just a few days left to nominate a military dad for NFI’s annual Military Fatherhood Award! Click here to nominate a military dad today! Voting ends this Sunday, February 5 at 11:59 PM EST!

The Thankful Campaign: A Military Dad: Thankful for Restored Relationships

This is a post by Tim Red, NFI's Director of Military Program Support Services. After spending 30 years in the U.S. Army, Tim now leads NFI's efforts to help the U.S. military add fatherhood programming to its work to support military families. Tim and his wife have four children and live in Texas. Tim contributes this blog post as part The Thankful Campaign and shares his personal experience about realizing that sometimes the things we're thankful for come out of the hardest experiences of life.

I am thankful for my improved relationship with my oldest son (Travis). My mobilization/deployment from July 2005 through December 2006 affected him more than any of my kids. It put distance in our relationship that I did not know or understand. He told me three summers ago that he quit praying the day I got on that plane to go overseas. In the last four years there has really been calm only once for about a two month span in the spring of 2009. Things got very ugly in July of this year - so bad that I had to give an ultimatum that changed his life.

Since then, we have talked more in the last three and a half months than we had in the previous four years. I am thankful for the changes he has made in his life and continues to make. We have still got a long way to go, but if you would have told me we would be at this point after the events of July, I would say you were crazy. I never thought we could come so far so fast. So I am very thankful for having my son back.

I am also thankful for the young men and women that serve our country all around this world. I am thankful for their military families who support them. And I am thankful for the services that are provided by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard to support our military families.

To learn more about NFI's work with the military, visit www.fatherhood.org/military.

How Baseball and Military Dads Motivated Me

This is a guest post by NFI's Director of Military Programming, Tim Red, who heads the organization's efforts to help the U.S. military add fatherhood programming to its work to support military families, pre-, during, and post-deployment.

As a Texas-based dad, baseball fan, and guy who works to support military fathers, last week was a rough one for me. Here's why.

As you have probably heard, a tragedy occurred last week at a Texas Rangers baseball game. Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old father (and firefighter for the Brownwood, TX Fire Department) lunged to catch a ball that was tossed into the crowd by player Josh Hamilton. He stumbled and fell over the railing 20 feet down to the concrete. He was conscious when they left the stadium and voiced concern about his 6-year-old son who was alone up in the stands and had witnessed his dad fall. Stone had driven a couple of hours from Brownwood to Arlington to take his son to his first Rangers game, and they had stopped at a sporting goods store to buy a new glove in the hopes that they would snag a ball at the game.

Stone had a massive heart attack on his way to the hospital and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Hamilton, the most important ball player for the Texas Rangers, is also a dad. He came back to baseball four years ago after years of drug abuse. His experiences have made him a very humble superstar, and as a father, he has talked about how Stone's death has affected him. He plans on reaching out to Stone's wife and son and helping them "when the time is right." He knows, as a dad himself, what a dads' sudden absence can mean to a family, and he wants to help.

On top of hearing about this heart-wrenching tragedy non-stop in the Dallas news, I also read four distressing testimonies by military dads. They were distressing in the respect that these dads are looking for answers about how to better support their families, but they are not finding them within the current support structures in the military. As a retired National Guard dad, I want them to have these answers. NFI wants them to have these answers. But it has been a slow process changing a "military family culture" that has been so focused on the stay-at-home family that it often forgets that dads need help, too.

But I am going to turn lemons into lemonade and use these dads' testimonies as weapons to use in my negotiations with Military Family Programs around the country. I am hopeful that these dads' words will show folks just how important it is to support our nation's military fathers.

My rough week, as hard as it was, really reminded me that the work we do here at NFI is more important than ever. So, watch out - I have some lemonade to make!

Military Children are the Real Award Winners

Today, NFI’s Vice President of Public Relations, Vince DiCaro is in Bremerton Washington, awarding our 2011 Military Fatherhood Award winner, Chris Cady. As we have said, Chris embodies a wonderful example of a military dad who displays an ongoing commitment and dedication to his son while balancing military life and mentoring other military fathers/children, specifically those with special needs. Vince will present the award to Chris in front of his Commanding Officer, family and peers, with Press at the ready. A truly special occasion.

But honestly, what’s so special about this award presentation?

While at first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything entirely special about an award presentation on our winner’s military base, it truly symbolizes so much more. Every day, many of America’s 1.8 million military children struggle with difficult situations and emotions that are foreign to non-military children. They watch their dad’s plane take off to a distant land and agonize that they may never return.

Have you ever considered that data on military children shows that they experience many of the same outcomes as children who live in father absent homes? When you really think about it, it makes sense. Military children experience increased depression, heightened behavior problems, lower academic achievement, etc.

It’s for this reason, that NFI is sure to honor military dads - in front of their peers – to encourage all military dads to go the extra mile and be a dad to their kids, and even to other children, in their area of influence.

Going beyond the award...

In fact, NFI goes beyond just giving one special military dad an award each year. We’re committed to working with the military to increase the number of installations who offer fatherhood programs to educate military dads and provide them with the skill-building resources they need to be involved, responsible, and committed dads, before, during, and after deployment.

We can all agree that our military servicepersons deserve our utmost support, and it’s our honor, with the help of donors and supporters, that we build up NFI’s “Strong Fathers, Strong Families Fund” to provide valuable fatherhood programming to military installations, which in turn provides innovative ways for military children to stay connected to dad while he’s deployed. Consider supporting this worthy cause.

Military children are the true award winners when military dads are equipped to be the best dads they can be.

Champion of Change… And a Whole Lot More

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of accompanying LS1 Christopher Cady, US Navy, to a special ceremony at the White House honoring great dads. Cady is, of course, National Fatherhood Initiative’s 2011 Military Fatherhood Award winner, and, as part of its Champions of Change initiative, the White House wanted to further honor him during its week of activities leading up to Father’s Day this Sunday.

It was quite an event. What struck me the most was the incredible stories that dads told of overcoming enormous obstacles to not only be involved in their own children’s lives, but to be “double duty dads” to other children in their communities. One father was a gang leader who was incarcerated; another witnessed horrible violence in his home growing up; another was abandoned by both of his parents… the list goes on. Yet, in the face of these huge obstacles, from which many people would have turned and run, they hung in there for the simplest, yet most important reason in the world… their kids.

Of course, there is our very own Christopher Cady. As you may know from his nomination video, Chris is the primary caretaker for his severely disabled son, Joshua. Chris is Joshua’s eyes, ears, arms and legs. He is everything to his son.

Being a dad can be tough. Being a military dad can be even tougher. Being a military dad with a special needs child… well, you get the point. But Chris has shown an enormous amount of perseverance, and I finally have a hint as to why.

Having met Chris in person for the first time yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice how calm of a guy he is. He takes everything in stride. He is always pleasant. In other words, he has exactly the kind of patient attitude he needs in order to be the kind of dad his son needs.

That is a point we make here at NFI a lot. Roland, NFI’s president, said on The Oprah Winfrey Show a few years ago, “You can’t be the kind of dad you wanted to have. You can’t be the kind of dad you want to be. You have to be the kind of dad your children need you to be.” I don’t think Chris saw that episode of Oprah, but he is certainly living by those words.

And not only that, he is working hard to make life better for all military dads, especially ones with special needs children. He is a Command Exceptional Family Member Coordinator and helps service members seek out information and resources for their children. On a local community level, he is a mentor for the Military Special Needs Group, the Special Education Advisory Committee, and the Kitsap Fathers Network. And more…

Chris didn’t just stop with his own son – he realized that to move from “good to great” he would have to help all of the other sons and daughters out there who deserve good dads.

In other words, he is a Champion of Change.

A video of Chris’ day at the Champions for Change event will be available at WhiteHouse.gov next week. Chris will be presented with his 2011 Military Fatherhood Award tomorrow near his base in Bremerton, WA.

Congrats to Military Fatherhood Award winner Chris Cady!

600 nominations. 3 finalists. 1 winner.

For the past few years, NFI has been recognizing military fathers for their commitment to the country and their families. This year, we gave America the opportunity to choose the recipient of this award. After narrowing 600 nominations down to three finalists - quite a difficult task! - we introduced three great military dads on our Facebook page. Thousands of people voted, and we are pleased to announce that Navy 1st Class Petty Officer Christopher Cady is NFI's 2011 Military Fatherhood Award recipient! Congratulations Chris!

Watch the announcement of the winner on Sunday's Fox and Friends show:



The 2011 Military Fatherhood Award will be presented to LS1 Cady on his base in June, along with sponsor prizes and other surprises. The winner's and two finalists' bases will also receive Fatherhood Resource Centers filled with NFI's educational materials for dads!

You can learn more about LS1 Cady and his son Joshua, who was born with Cytomegalovirus, by reading his nomination.

Congratulations also go to the other two finalists for the Military Fatherhood Award, Army Captain Scott Kulla and Air Force Major Marc Mathes. We are grateful to all three of these dads for their service to the country and for setting a great example as involved, responsible, and committed fathers!

Learn about how National Fatherhood Initiative supports Military Fathers and Families, and how you can too!

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