With Father’s Day approaching, the Pinellas County Housing Authority took a different approach to honoring fatherhood this year. Residents (fathers and mothers) were recruited to attend a conference hosted by ReachUp, Inc. The 2014 Annual Affirming Fatherhood Conference was themed “Scoring Goals for Fatherhood”. The conference “demonstrated the valuable role of fathers and fatherhood to our present and future generations” - ReachUp, Incorporated.
PCHA staff accompanied 15 interested fathers and mothers from our communities to attend the 3-day conference which focused on how to reverse the negative views of fatherhood. A wonderful welcome reception set the tone for the entire conference. Guest speakers shared their stories and viewpoints on fatherhood. They also surveyed the attendees to find out why they chose to attend the conference. PCHA’s HCV participant, Julio Maldonado said, “I’m here because I want to be a better father to my 7 year-old son.”
The second day of the conference began with guest speakers and the topics covered included:
- A historical overview on fatherhood,
- The large system and institution view on fatherhood,
- Legal aspects, and the
- Involvement of the Father in programs.
Additionally, there was a segment dedicated to a panel discussion entitled “His Understanding of the Game”. This panel consisted of father’s ranging from teens to older fathers who shared their experiences with their father’s, their view of fatherhood, their own trials and tribulations, and what they have done and continue to do to enhance their fatherhood/parenting skills. Their heartfelt stories were very captivating!
PCHA’s public housing resident, Jacinta Arce, stated, “I really enjoyed hearing the stories of the guys on the fatherhood panel and how they opened up to share their experiences.” Public Housing resident, Andrew Denson, said regarding the panel, “I enjoyed the conference and meeting the fathers. I’ve gained respect for others, and now realize it’s not just about me.”
The 2014 Affirming Fatherhood Conference was a great success! The residents of PCHA thoroughly enjoyed the 3-day conference. Public Housing resident, Azania Ali, said, “I walked away with so much information and received many new ideas on starting a new program assisting fathers.” The conference opened her eyes to the lack of programs in place that support fathers and their parenting.
In addition to the conference, the PCHA also is planning to partner with the Resident Associations of Crystal Lakes Manor and Lakeside Terrace Apartments to host a Father’s Day event on June 14, 2014. The event plans to honor and recognize Fathers and Grandfathers in the communities with a cook-out celebration.
PCHA pledges to continue to support both the fathers and mothers of our communities; to encourage them to be active in the lives of their children.