FOCUS’ ReEngage is ‘Re-engaging’ Men in Families and Communities

Facebook_03_12-1Absentee fathers are a growing national epidemic that reach across social, racial, and economic lines. Children from homes where fathers are absent are 5 times more likely to be poor. 70 percent of all juveniles in detention centers come from fatherless homes. 71 percent of all high school dropouts did not grow up with an active father.

“There are important and necessary lessons about life that fathers have historically imparted to our children,” says Rodney Knott, facilitator of FOCUS’ fatherhood program, called ReEngage. “Those lessons are not being passed on to our children, and the children are suffering.”

FOCUS North America is responding to the dire needs of fatherless families with a pioneering program called ReEngage.

“FOCUS’ REngage program is working with fathers to keep them active in the lives of their children. This program has been phenomenally successful in transforming the lives of children, fathers and their families.” FOCUS North America Executive Director Nicholas Chakos said.

It is often assumed adult men should inherently know what it means to be a responsible man. “We are created male and female, but we must learn what it takes to be men and women,” Knott said, “In the absence of positive role models and teachers how will we learn these lessons?”

Troy Polamalu, the All-Pro safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, knows what it is like to be raised with distant parents.

“By God’s grace Troy was able to overcome a lot of the circumstances that he was given living in poverty without really having parents to guide him,” Theodora Polamalu, a member of the FOCUS Advisory Board, said.

But FOCUS North America is teaching men to be fathers so that they will remain active in the lives of their children as positive role models.

“FOCUS gives these children an opportunity to be like Troy, to say you know what, you are important,” Polamalu said.

Knott facilitated the ReEngage program last fall in Kansas City, Missouri. At the program’s graduation, 11 students received certificates from FOCUS and the Kansas City Mayor. The graduates continue to gather on Tuesday evenings to support one another and to reinforce the lessons that they learned through ReEngage.

Graduate Dwight Simpson has not only become more active in the life of his family but he has also become active in extending theNelson ReEngage message throughout his community.

” This program has been an inspiration to me,” says Simpson. His message to other fathers is, “Don’t quit. Don’t quit.”

ReEngage is expanding its important work throughout the country, teaching men to be fathers and stay active in the lives of their children. To learn more, please visit the FOCUS North America website: focusnorthamerica.org

FOCUS Announces Appointment Of Nicholas J. Chakos As Executive Director

 

FOCUS NORTH AMERICA BOARD ANNOUNCES

APPOINTMENT OF NICHOLAS J. CHAKOS AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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The Board of Directors of FOCUS North America announces appointment of Nicholas J. Chakos as the new Executive Director of FOCUS North America.  FOCUS North America Chairman Charles Ajalat said, “The Board of Directors is extremely blessed and excited to have found such a great leader to take FOCUS North America to the next level.”

Nick Chakos has over 15 years of experience and demonstrated success in Orthodox non-profit leadership, fundraising, strategic planning, and program development and evaluation. He is both an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the recipient of the Miron Cross, the highest distinction given by the Romanian Orthodox Church to civilians for outstanding social service to Romania. Nick has been with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for 13 years, occupying positions such as Interim Director of Development and as a member of the Executive Team.  Prior to IOCC, Nick worked for Tanzanian Development Association, a division of the Orthodox Church in Tanzania.  Nick is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Nick is passionate about domestic social action.

Through the gracious help and cooperation of his current employer over the last few weeks, Mr. Chakos is expected to join FOCUS on February 16.

Please join us in welcoming this outstanding leader to the FOCUS North America team!

Everyday Icons 5: What is the YES program??

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Panayioti describes his first hand experience with FOCUS North America’s Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) program. Panayoiti and several other peers travelled throughout Pittsburgh gaining a new perspective on the poor of the city all the while helping and serving those in need. Watch and listen Panayioti’s experience as this week’s Everyday Icon.

Two-time Super Bowl champion Troy Polamalu and wife Theodora “Tackle Poverty”

polamaluFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (Oct. 3, 2011) Troy and Theodora Polamalu, faithful Orthodox Christians, have joined FOCUS North America to “tackle” poverty.

TacklePoverty.org campaign, which runs from Sept. 26, 2011 to Feb. 5, 2012, hopes to inspire 10,000 people to take action and help those in need.

“We’ve kicked off to a solid start in an effort to reach 10,000 now let’s go further,” Troy Polamalu said. “Together we can tackle poverty!”

Visit TacklePoverty.org to learn about the many ways FOCUS NA is working to help the poor nationwide. Watch Troy and Theodora’s video messages, make a donation, and put together a team of friends to tackle poverty. Tacklers will win cool prizes while creating much needed awareness about the plight of the working poor. Get 25 friends to donate and win a Tackle Poverty T-shirt. Inspire 43 friends to donate and get a signed Polamalu poster. With 100 friends donating, you get a signed Polamalu jersey (#43) and have your name put in the drawing to win Steelers home game tickets! You can also text “Troy” to 52000 to make a $10 donation.

You can see the Tackle Poverty campaign on Troy’s Facebook and Twitter sites. Check in with Troy each week as he reminds fans of the importance of this worthwhile effort to help the poor. With over 1.8 million Facebook fans and 275,000 Twitter followers, the response could make a huge difference in the lives of working poor individuals!

“This is a great opportunity to inspire friends, coworkers, and others you know to join with you in helping the poor at a time when 15% of our neighbors in America are below the poverty line,” FOCUS NA Executive Director Fr. Justin Mathews said. “If you have a heart to help the poor, you can inspire others too.”

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Visit TacklePoverty.org to start making a difference!

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The Man Class

Picture_5FOCUS North America’s ReEngage program is fighting for hopeless and hurting men who have lost a vision for their lives. The Man Class is a component of ReEngage that is laying the foundation to begin that fight. Get an explanation for what the Man Class is and what it is seeking to do. ReEngage Director Rodney Knott gives his insight into the beginnings of the class and outlines its goals. With your support this class can expand to several FOCUS centers and take the fight nationwide, instilling hope and a future for the men of America’s urban core.

Youth Use Summer Break to Serve Others

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Niko Touloumes was planning on using some of his summer break to do a service project, but he never thought the project would change his perspective on those in need.

Touloumes was one of 18 youth from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Christian Church in Pittsburgh who participated in the June Appalachia service trip, a ministry of FOCUS North America. The group of middle school and high school students were joined by six adult leaders.

The goal of these short term ministry trips is to build a sense of service and community by providing an opportunity for church groups to travel together, work together, serve together and grow together. Projects include home repair, landscaping, and various domestic projects for the poor living in the heart of the Appalachian region. In some parts of the Appalachian region of NC where the FOCUS NA teams serve there is an almost 20% unemployment rate.

“I was expecting to come down and help people, not necessarily interact with them,” Touloumes said.  “But I came here and found out why they’re in these situations.”

The teens and their adult leaders worked hard and always had a great attitude as they worked on graveling a driveway, painting a garage, removing a rotting deck, painting the interior of a house, moving heavy furniture and various landscaping projects.

The working poor families served by these groups are always very grateful for the help, Niko Petrogeorge, FOCUS North America ministry team intern, said.

“We painted the inside of an elderly couple’s home,” Petrogeorge said. “Mr. Upright was very appreciative of our work and wanted to help us.

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We got him started on something he wouldn’t have been able to do on his own and provided the resources and materials for the project.”

The group ended its time on their service trip withprayer at the Quiet Reflections Retreat Center nearby lead by Fr. John Touloumes.

Petrogeorge said Fr. John Touloumes, priest at Holy Trinity and leader on the trip, already wants to bring a group back next summer to serve again.

The work done for needy families and the work done in the hearts of those who serve is always a welcome benefit.

“I feel like being on this mission trip has helped me grow as an Orthodox Christian,” said Georgia Gagianas, another teen participant on the trip. “There were times when things didn’t go as planned, but we realized that this trip wasn’t about us and we just needed to be patient and do what was necessary to help the people we came to serve.”

If your church group might be interested in serving together on a FOCUS North America Appalachia service trip contact Niko Petrogeorge at JavaScript required to view address or call 1-866-267-3083.