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Father’s Day special feature

The boy band being dads’ ambassadors

In the name of the father

As Daddy used to say…


22  THE VOICE JUNE 16 - 22, 2011

father’s day special

It’s important to celebrate fatherhood and the unique gifts fathers bring to the parenting table

About the Author... Kirkton Moore is a prolific urban fiction writer who knows the street game from the inside. He was born in Los Angeles,CA. Saving Our Own is Mr.Moore’s reparation for the damage done to the Black community... If I’m one of the creators of a group of problems, I know the answers to those problems. And in this raw and humorous Urban Fiction novel, I’ll share the answers of our African-American Youth problems with you. This novel is straight up urban Street, but negative aspects are turned into a positive outcome in an entertaining way.

Own Saving OnuMroore by Kirkto

Helping to make better dads and stronger families Neil Solo, Project Manager for Barnardo’s Baby Father Initiative explains the work of the project

Overview Mr.Allen Teech visualized a brighter future for African-Americans through a superior education. He invests his own money and raises capital from prominent African-Americans to build and operate a fine boarding school for at risk Black Youths, in the roughest area of Los Angeles,California.

How to buy? You can buy ‘Saving Our Own’ at Amazon.co.uk and www.buybooksontheweb.com, also look up Kirkton Moore URBANFICTIONGEM on Twitter and urban fiction books ‘Saving Our Own’ on you-tube

www.buybooksontheweb.com

T

aking up the themes from the best-selling Baby Father series of books by Patrick Augustus, The Barnardo’s Baby Father Initiative Training and Consultancy Service was conceived and created by Errol John, now Head of Operations London and East of England at Barnardo’s in 2003.

The project began seeking answers to the following questions: What support do fathers need in order to fulfil their role? How can we support practitioners to better support fathers and male carers? How do we engage communities in the debate? The process of engaging fathers, particularly black fathers, though getting better,

is still proving to be challenging for family and community organisations and the social care practitioners. We have sought to meet this need by developing two accredited training programmes to support parents, the wider social care sector and initiatives such as the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda.


JUNE 16 - 22, 2011 THE VOICE  23

www.voice-online.co.uk Fatherhood Parenting Programme This is an accredited and independently evaluated parenting program aimed at developing fathering skills and confidence amongst fathers and male carers. When delivering these sessions we are always moved by the love fathers express for their children. But we are also concerned that as adults, we seem unable to resolve our differences at the point of break up, to prevent the development of ‘father hunger’ in children. These sessions support men and fathers from a position often not of their own choosing. Fatherhood Training Programme This program is aimed at social care professionals and managers. Since 2006 the Baby Father Initiative has been providing training to teenage pregnancy workers, teachers, early years workers and prison workers on how to better engage and work with men, fathers and male carers, as a positive resource. Community Healing We have used and continue to use the creative arts, such as drama, poetry and song in our work. This approach has proved central to our being able to work successfully in

communities, proving an ideal mechanism to inform and connect directly with those we serve. Through this we have been able to engage with not only men, fathers and male carers but children, partners and families. For instance last year we held a Father’s Day Family Fun Day event in Burgess Park Southwark, south London. We call this element of our work community healing. It’s important to celebrate fatherhood and the unique gifts fathers bring to the parenting table and move the focus away from the constant criticism men face, if we are to encourage their involvement. In recent years the project has been able to extend its understanding of men fathers and masculinity and has developed work with young offenders. Serious youth crime and the needless death of young people is one of the biggest issues facing communities not only in London but throughout the country. It takes a whole village to raise a child and we must not be fearful or abandon our young people. In Lambeth, brought together by the innovative Young and Safe Team and Lambeth’s PCT, we are working with a number of other organisations to help divert young people away from youth violence. Early indicators show we are

It’s crucial the message of contraception reaches young men as well as women if it’s ever to have any impact having some significant impact. We have also been exploring fatherhood and masculinity in relation to teenage pregnancy and the high rates of sexually transmitted infections with a particular focus on the role of young men, exploring their attitudes to sex and responsibility. It’s crucial that the message of contraception reach young men as well as young women if it is ever to have any impact. So far I’m encouraged at how bright our young people are and how receptive they are to this message but we must engage them as adults, openly honestly and truthfully. The Baby Father Initiative who’s Involved The team itself is small and made up of: Project Manager Neil Solo, Administrator Roksana Akhtar and Project Worker - Patrick Davis. We

are however further supported by a number of fantastic occasional workers and volunteers. The Baby Father Initiativephilosophy This is based on the old proverb ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child.’ On one level this proverb reminds us that child rearing is probably the most demanding of all human activities and though it is a role we adapt to, it nevertheless presents families with massive challenges. Among the many difficulties and tensions that face today’s families are: * Smaller nuclear family units, as opposed to wider familial support networks able to lend a helping hand and absorb financially and emotionally the task of child rearing.

* Today’s modern living and changing value base. * The loss of community. On a deeper level the proverb hints at a connectedness in all things that implies a responsibility we all share, in the development and well being of our young, each other and community. Barnardo’s As one of the UK’s leading children’s charities we believe in children and young people. In 1870, Dr Thomas John Barnardo opened his first home for children in London’s impoverished East End. In the new millennium, Barnardo’s is still caring for children, young people and their families. We no longer run orphanages, but work in the community to help disadvantaged children, young people and their families. Barnardo’s vision is that the lives of all children and young people should be free from poverty, abuse and discrimination. We believe in the abused, the vulnerable, the forgotten and the neglected. We will support them, stand up for them and bring out the best in each and every child. Today, Barnardo’s works directly with more than 100,000 children, young

people and their families every year. We run 415 specialised projects in local communities across the UK, including children’s rights, advocacy and participation, community development, employment and skills training, education – schools and support services, work with young offenders support services. We hope this gives you an overview of the work we do and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported the Baby Father Initiative…Happy Father’s Day! For further information on the project, to volunteer or commission any of our services please contact: Neil Solo - Project Manager Baby Father Initiative LEaSE Regional Office Tanners Lane Barkingside Ilford Essex IG6 1QG t: 020 8498 7596/7148 e: babyfather@barnardos.org.uk w: www.barnardos.org.uk/babyfather Further information on other Barnardo’s projects and the wide range of services provided, please visit www.barnardos.org.uk


24  THE VOICE JUNE 16 - 22, 2011

The boy band being dads ambassadors Once teenage pin-ups, boy band Damage reveal all about becoming men and celebrating fatherhood. Striving to be good male role models for their children - Andrez McLeod, Jade Jones, Rahsaan J. Bromfield and Noel Simpson speak exclusively to The Voice about being fathers and why they support Barnardo’s Baby Father Initiative, which encourages responsible parenting amongst fathers in the UK.

By Janelle Oswald

What made you guys become supporters for fathers? (Jade Jones) We are all fathers now, and Barnardos is a great, great charity that does amazing things for children, especially for kids who come from broken homes and need a new family. Now that we are responsible men, we want to do responsible roles within our communities and become good role models for the next generation and most importantly our children.

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How has fatherhood changed your lives? (Noel Simpson) It’s the most amazing phenomenonal thing I have ever done, other than Damage. My son has made me the most proudest man alive. (Rahsaan J. Bromfield) I have a mini village – three beautiful girls. I also have a three-year-old and soon-tobe one year-old twins. I have been very blessed, which is why now as a father I can see right past any form of bullcrap coming towards me. As an adult and a father you see things differently because you always have to put your family first and think about the consequences of your actions. Fatherhood has made me grow ten million times. I can now see through the rubbish. I am a protector and a provider for my family. (Jade) I have just recently become a father again for the second time and have two wonderful boys. Fatherhood has made me a lot more chilled and wiser. You grow up a hell of a lot when you have kids. It just gives you a

lot of knowledge. Once you have a child you become a real man. (Andrez McLeod) I’m a proud father of one and loving it. My daughter was born two months premature but is now doing really well. I’m very proud of her. It’s brought my wife and me closer together along with the family. It’s mind-blowing when you have created a child, how you can see yourself in them. Fatherhood truly gives you a sense of purpose. Do you think the saying older parents make wiser parents is true? Were you all ready for fatherhood? (Noel) There are pros and cons in both however, I am glad I had my son late, because now I can school him in the ways of being a real man. (Rahsaan) I’m glad I became a father at a later age in my life. I have always had kids around me so I’ve always wanted children from a young age, but I think for me it is better having a child at the age we are now than when we were ‘youts’. . (Andrez) I don’t think that you’re ever ready for fatherhood, I think for myself being ready meant I wanted to be financially secure, I wanted to make sure that everything was 100 % ready for the birth of my child so I wasn’t totally ready, but when she did come along it was absolutely 100% bliss. What would be your pearls of wisdom to fathers-to-be? (Jade) You have to be there for your kids. You have to spend as much time with your children and be there for them. I think it is important for the next generation to

Photo credits: Jason Joseph • Makeup and hair: Sophia Taylor

father’s day feature

have both parents in their lives because this seems to have gone out of the window. (Andrez) It is crucial for both parents to play an influential, positive role and to remain as a family – it’s the ideal model. But if both can’t be there, raise them in a joint way in harmony. Plus if you can wait and enjoy your youth, you get the chance to experience the world, and to be selfish in a positive way where it’s just about you. Once you have a family every plan that you make you have to factor in your child so don’t rush into fatherhood, if you can’t wait, then be responsible and do what you can. What lessons would you pass on about fatherhood? (Andrez) You have to raise your child in the best way that you can for yourself and for your family, but you have to also be conscious about how you are raising your child to be in society. You have to raise your child with the knowledge of how they are going to integrate with the rest of society in the future. (Rahsaan) I think for me from my own personal experiences I would say ‘love hard’. Be a positive role model in your children’s lives. (Jade) Be worldly – be interested in other people’s cultures, love to learn and soak everything up. We live in a multi-cultural society so we should all just embrace all that. (Noel) There are a lot of people out there who want to stay ‘ghetto’. I don’t want my child to be like that. I feel I had a good balance in my life. I can integrate with different types of people and I want my son to have the same selfconfidence and social skills.


JUNE 16 - 22, 2011 THE VOICE  25

www.voice-online.co.uk

Single parent fathers get a self-esteem boost By Janelle Oswald

Moved by the struggles faced by single parent fathers, founder of H R Training Professionals, Margaret Thorli, was motivated to launch a bespoke training course to help single parent fathers back into the workforce. Determined to make a difference encouraging all lone parents to believe in themselves, here the single parent of two tells The Voice how she can get hundreds of single fathers marching back through the doors becoming proud businessmen of the future. What inspired you to design courses for lone parent fathers? I had a simply ‘divine intervention’ by God that gave me the grace, wisdom and the gifts to start the Lone Parent Fathers Project. In life, we are always on a

journey even though we do not know where it will lead to. I find this very exciting and at the same time scary because the future as we know in regards to employment/business is no longer guaranteed. I followed my desire to start my own business running workshops for lone parents to overcome their issues and to become a part of the work market, after being out of employment bringing up their children. Also as an Employment Liaison Officer/ Mentor Cocoordinator and a Life Coaching Trainer, I find the majority of lone parents want to go back to work or start their own business and come off benefits. My research has also found working with lone parents especially fathers, the most

challenging of my caseloads because the difficulties these clients experience in finding sustainable employment childcare, and dealing with any emotional issues relating to the school issues and child minding. To successfully put all lone parents back to work they need extra support and encouragement to overcome some of the barriers that hold them back from returning to the work market. What do fathers learn on the course? Single parent father courses offer a plethora of skills such as Financial Management, Calculating the Benefits of Moving from Welfare to Work, DebtCounselling, Effective money-management and Day to Day Budget-planning. But I also do courses in Enterprise | New Business Start Up, Coaching | Personal Development and Employability Skills

How can lone- fathers join your courses? Just come on down! I welcome all men to join, which will be a new start to their lives. Anybody can join. We have people from various Job Centres and we also have private clients. Please don’t hesitate to contact me by THORLI: Committed to helping logging onto: fathers www.hrtrainingprofessionalsco.uk

Single Parent Fathers JOHN’S STORY Before becoming a single Dad, John worked full time and was married with three children. He came home one day and his wife told him she was leaving him. He responded ‘You are not taking my kids’. His wife replied ‘I was not going to, you can have the kids, I want my life back’. He was devastated. I met him at his lowest, lowest point. I worked closely with this man and gave him the right support and encouragement and referred him to different agencies. Within months he had found a part-time job, which fitted in around the school journeys. GERALD’S STORY I recently worked with Gerald after he completed one of our Business Start-Up courses and mentoring programmes. I worked with him and his family and after two months we helped him to secure part time working as a producer on a London based community TV station and he went on to start his own business in Community Youth work. What are the three main tips you would give to lone parent fathers? Start to look at ways to develop a wide and varied personal skills set through self help books and workshops. Get yourself into a group of other like minded men with similar issues like yours, and build yourself a network of friends that can support one another. Finally, develop and prepare yourself for stages of your children’s growth by working with other single fathers as volunteers. Also consider additional skills development in yourself through professional training and or volunteer work. For example, giving time to disadvantaged and troubled young adult fathers. The benefits are priceless because by engaging with young lone fathers to be, you empower

them to overcome their barriers and help them to have a better relationship with their children and a greater understanding of what the role of a father should be. What can parents do to beat the recession and maintain a happy, fulfilled household? Up-skill yourself through training and volunteering work. Keep expenditure within income levels where possible and most importantly re-programme and manage the growing demands from kids for nonessential purchases. What are the main things a person should do to stay employable in the recession? No job is a guaranteed job for life – the world market for jobs only recognises those people that are skilled and ready for work immediately. So, make sure you are ready for work in your chosen area or be ready to start and maintain a small business in order that you and your family can eat. Many parents find it challenging to keep a full-time job while caring for their family. What advice would you give parents who are thinking of becoming self-employed? Being a parent is a full-time job already; I will say go for it - follow your dreams and passion become the businessman/woman that you want to be. Take control of your destiny and start your own business. Reflect on what you want in life and take this recession as an opportunity for you to try something new and challenging. What advice would you give to single parents in learning how to juggle their finances and keep their jobs? Be highly conscious of your finances and make sure you learn about financial management. Do a monthly budget set out day-to-day, reassess your finances, set up different bank accounts for your bills, go food shopping once per month if you can, leave debit/credit cards at home and avoid temptation. Don’t go shopping!

What are the common challenges that lone-parent fathers face? The common challenges that lone parent fathers face are loneliness and not feeling recognised by the official authorities in the same way that single

mothers are and the lack of family support. Men find it difficult to work because of childcare constraints, their relationships with friends can suffer and personal concerns around whether or not potential women

partners will be able to accept them and their children. Men also often go through periods of low selfesteem and lack of confidence, not forgetting housing issues when raising a daughter during puberty.


26  THE VOICE JUNE 16 - 22, 2011

father’s day feature

In the name of the father By Marcia Dixon

A study by Swedish researchers found that children whose fathers were involved in their lives tend to behave and learn better, and are better adjusted emotionally and psychologically. It’s often said that the rise of gun, knife and gang culture in the black community in Britain is due to absent fathers. These findings suggest that if fathers were more involved in the lives of their children we would see less negative behaviour. The Voice asked three Christians, Rev. Les Isaac, Rev. Wale Hudson-Roberts, and child psychologist Esther Fenty, what the church can do to encourage black fathers to play a greater role in the lives of their children. extended family – and it’s imperative that they implement a strategy where they encourage men to be fathers and mentors to children aside from their own. Such intervention would normally be called pastoral care, but its other name is mentoring and friendship. When I travel I always seek to take young men and women with me, so that I can mentor and pastor them.

REV LES ISAAC, FOUNDER OF STREET PASTORS

Many people in the community want to see the church respond practically to the issue of absentee fathers. It’s important that the church reflects seriously on issues of family and the different types of family – nuclear family, single parent family and the

and taught they have a responsibility to provide for their partner and any kids they have. It’s also important for black majority churches to model functional relationships and that churches are seen as an environment that can help families create long-term stability through offering teaching programmes, financial support, counseling

REV WALE HUDSONROBERTS, RACIAL JUSTICE OFFICE, BAPTIST UNION OF GREAT BRITAIN

It’s important that men are reminded that they should have children with women they are committed to, be encouraged stay with them,

COLLECTIONS NATIONWIDE

and anything else that would build good families and help fathers understand their role. Pastors in particular need to put what they preach into practice, and provide a good example of family life. For young people, particularly boys who have no contact with their fathers, churches need to step into the gap by providing mentoring and support. ESTHER FENTY, CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST

The biblical edict is clear from examples of the elders and from Ephesians that fathers have the two-fold

responsibility for helping to develop faith in children while at the same time not exasperating them. To support parents, the church should invest in parenting education, not only during sermons. Some sessions aimed specifically at fathers could include: how to engage with their children not only in developing their faith, but in all aspects of their lives such as education; building relationships with children; learning though fun activities; sessions for dads and lads; teaching responsibility to boys while they are still young and

not waiting for them to become fathers; older men teaching younger men and mentoring those with absent fathers.

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JUNE 16 - 22, 2011 THE VOICE  27

father’s day feature

www.voice-online.co.uk

As Daddy used to say… The 15 best quotes about fatherhood

very rough”

“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice” Unknown

“A father is a fellow who has replaced the currency in his wallet with the snapshots of his kids.” Unknown

“You’re tearing up the grass”; “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys”;” Harmon Killebrew

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” Charles Wadsworth

“My father was often angry when I was most like him.” Lillian Hellman

There’s so much negative imagery of black fatherhood. I’ve got tons of friends that are doing the right thing by their kids, and doing the right thing as a father - and how come that’s not as newsworthy? Will Smith

“Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.” Gloria Naylor

“Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad” Anne Geddes

“My father said, ‘Politics asks the question: Is it expedient? Vanity asks: Is it popular? But conscience asks: Is it right?’” Dexter Scott King

Gel Ge “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say,

Gèlècious

“The son whines to his father, “You messed up my childhood!” And the father says, “How could I, son? I wasn’t even there” Unknown

Wilhelm Busch

“Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-ona-rope.” Bill Cosby “Becoming a father is easy enough, but being one can be

Love and fear. Everything the father of a family says must inspire one or the other. Joseph Joubert

“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.” Anne Sexton

“Why are men reluctant to become fathers? They aren’t through being children.” Cindy Garner

Gèlè Afternoon Tea and Gèlè fashion show, Bloomsbury, London, to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s.

9 July 2011, 12.30 - 4pm Featuring renowned couture designers:

Clariscia Gill of Mayfair

Yemi Osunkoya (Kosibah)

Adebayo Jones (Stylist)

Luxury textile designer: Banke Kuku

City Florist: Melanie Jane Campbell b ll

Be inspired with talks by:

Bring joy, bring colour, bring hope

Voice Newspaper MD George Ruddock Award Winning Dementia Nurse Specialist Morejoy Saineti Alzheimer’s Society London Area Manager Maggie Owolade

The Montague on n the Gardens, Montague Street, Bloomsbury, London ndo

Ladies are invited to wear a Gèlè (head tie/ head-wrap) or alternative headwear. Get a Gèlè on the day and have it styled by Lara O or ready to wear by stylist Juliet Esiri.

Book now by calling ing the Voice newspaper: 0207 07 510 0367 or by emailing: geletea@cherishcommunications.com eletea@cherishcommunicatio

Learn the story of Alzheimer’s via couture and networking.

Proceeds will go the Alzheimer’s Society.

Tickets: £35.00 0


28 | THE VOICE June 16-22, 2011

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Fathers Day 2011 Feature