Absentee 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 the 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