Father’s Day is this Sunday, and it’s a wonderful time to consider resources available to support single parents in our community.
Did you know that according to the Pew Research Center, 8% of households with minor children in the United States are headed by a single father? This statistic is just one reason why one of the key policy goals and priorities set by President Obama is the promotion of Responsible Fatherhood and Strong Communities.
To ensure success, the White House has partnered with other federal departments to promote fatherhood in local communities. From this initiative, resources such as the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse were created and developed to help support fathers as they work to ensure stability for their families.
In addition to the resources provided through President Obama’s Responsible Fatherhood and Strong Communities initiative, local schools, faith communities and nonprofits – including Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont – provide support and services for families and young people.
Goodwill’s Career Leadership Academy for Youth (CLAY) program is a great resource designed to work with high school youth and emerging adults ages 14-21 who are interested in personal growth, career exploration and character molding.
Kunganzi is a single father going the extra mile to ensure his children are successful by engaging them in Goodwill’s CLAY program. He saw an opportunity for his children to develop and gain resources and support for their goals. He is a father of four children: two boys and two girls, and appreciates all of the opportunities offered through the CLAY program.
Kunganzi explains his philosophy of parenting this way: “As children age, the parent is in some ways like an architect building up his or her children. To build up, I believe in the rule of the three “R’s” – which is not exhaustive – but is so very important in regards to children: ‘Relationship,’ ‘Responsibility’ and ‘Reference.'”
“I have learned throughout time that a quality relationship with a child and a parent is very crucial. As a father, you need to set a time for your children. When we say ‘relationship,’ it needs to be clear to both the father and the child. The core word in this rule is ‘love.’ Whether you are working, having fun or correcting mistakes, everything needs to be done to define your relationship. My children at this stage know that I am their father and they are my children; they also know that we love each other.”
“When we say ‘father,’ the implication is ‘responsibility.’ It is impossible to be a father if we don’t assume responsibilities. A father takes care of his children. Even when you do not feel like going to work, you have to because you have responsibilities: shelter, food, transportation, education, school activities, clothes, health, etc…”
“A father needs to be a reference. In some cases, some of my leadership actions as a father came from my father. Willing or not as a father, we serve as a good or bad reference. Our children will then make a choice. Any of our conversations or actions will stand as a legacy to our children. So act well always. The rule here: be an example.”
When it comes to the three “R’s,” the young people in the CLAY program at Goodwill are also developing relationships, learning responsibility and utilizing their parents as a reference.
“I like to see my children get involved in the CLAY program because we do not raise a child alone. There are goals I have set for myself to attain regarding my children, and I believe that the CLAY program is a great support and resource to get there,” said Kunganzi.
“CLAY is an incredible tool to see our children succeed in life. It is a great learning ground and brings together different perspectives. My children are learning things in CLAY that I could not teach them, and they are becoming more responsible. I like it!”
As we continue to reflect on our fathers this Father’s Day, let’s not forget to ensure that single parents have the resources they need to be successful.
Locally, don’t forget to consider the opportunities at your children’s school, in the faith community and at community organizations such as Goodwill. Support is right here, right now.