Stephanie Adames, Puma Press News Editor
Participants of the Fathers Mentoring Fathers program pose for a photo after completing the six-session workshop. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that children with involved fathers are more likely to excel in school.
Children who are raised in single parent homes and primarily raised by their father are twice as likely to get A’s if their fathers are involved with their education. While these statistics show that students excel when a father plays an active role in their children’s life, the Congressional Research Service reports that one out of every three children live apart from their father. Father Matters, a non-profit organization, works to increase the amount of active fathers.
Father Matters, located in South Phoenix, strives to provide single fathers with resources that can help them strengthen their roles as parents. Participants can attend a variety of workshops including Court and Custody, Financial Literacy, and Fathers Mentoring Fathers.
Vance Simms, Founder of Father Matters, said that the program draws a diverse group of people who all come from different walks of life. Some men are newly single fathers, while others have been single father for a long time. Simms also said that grandfathers who are raising their grandchildren attend the workshops.
Simms said it’s good to see men from all different backgrounds, including those who speak a different language, stand up and talk about the problems they face. Men find that even though they may be very different they face similar issues when it comes to parenting and custody.
In 1997, Vance Simms created Father Matters in San Jose,California, after facing child custody issues of his own. Simms saw the need for more active fathers and positive mentoring among men. Father Matter’s workshops have been implemented in cities throughout the nation, including Chicago, Maryland, and Washington DC.
Father Matters primarily works to strengthen men and their families through its workshops and other events.
Simms said that instead of “putting a Band-Aid” on the problem of absent fathers, Father Matters works to get to the root of the problem by changing absent fathers behavior through positive guidance and support.
“We work to change men’s hearts.” said Simms.
On April 5th Father Matters will be holding a Financial Literacy workshop at 4732 South Central Avenue. The workshop will provide information on resume writing, child support modification, job retention and financial issues. The event is open to both men and women, for more information on this event visit www.fathermatters.org.
Other workshops provided by Father Matters.
Fathers Mentoring Fathers is a six-session program that highlights issues fathers may face when parenting their children. The workshop is restricted to only men in order to create a safe environment where men can openly discuss issues they may be facing. In the workshop participants discuss the importance of communication and the responsibility they have to be an active father.
Mothers2Mother Mentoring is also a six-session program that highlights communication and responsibility issues for mothers. This workshop is similar to the Fathers Mentoring Fathers workshop, but is tailored to women.
The Court and Custody workshop is open to both men and women. This workshop provides participants with information and resources from professional speakers on issues regarding custody, false allegations of abuse, and how to find the right attorney. Family law attorneys and Child Protective Services also answer participant’s questions about the legal process.
Crossroads for Teens is a community program that teaches teens about the risks of pregnancy and dropping out of school. The program works to give teens a realistic idea of the responsibility they will face as young parents.