Events & Workshops, Fathership, Men, Our Family

My Dad Rocks Event celebrates fatherhood in Middletown | www.journal-news.com

Celebrate Fatherhood is scheduled for June 11 in Middletown. Previously the event has honored fathers who have contributed to the community. Pictured are back row L-R: Brian Million, Daniel Colson, Mark Million and previous honoree, Terry Million. Seated L-R Garnett Million, Brandon Million and Tim Million.

MIDDLETOWN — A Middletown group is working on a project that will celebrate fathers called “My Dad Rocks.” The group is also celebrating men who have been shining examples of what a father should be.

The idea for the project comes from the 3 R Development organization, which is led by Dr. Celeste Didlick-Davis, who said the entire idea will culminate in an event that will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 11 at the Robert “Sonny” Hill Community Center and Frederick Douglass Park in Middletown.

“We really have tried with some success of having this in the past, but we want to really get the effort up and going and keep it going,” Didlick-Davis said.

The day starts with breakfast and registration and then various workshops and speakers will be featured throughout the day, including Kevin Harris from the Ohio State extension office.

Matthew Smith, and Abdul Shakur, who have been very active with the Celebrate Fatherhood-Middletown group will join some former Middletown athletes during some presentations. Comedian Brian Million will perform along with Ralph Farley, a spoken word artist from Dayton.

The My Dad Rocks part of the program offers tributes by young people and members of the community to fathers or mentors that helped change their lives. Special mention will be made to men over the age of 80 who have spent their lives helping the community and their own families.

“We are creating an awareness of what the skills and attributes are of an all-star father,” Shakur said. “We are following the mission statement of the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood (OCF). They are moving these ideas across the state to help make fathers better providers.

Ohio will receive nearly $10 million over the next five years to help new and expectant low-income fathers with children under age one and fathers ages 16 to 24 to become more effective and nurturing parents, improve their families’ long-term economic stability, and build strong, lasting relationships with their children according to OCF.

The agency is challenging counties across the state to provide opportunities for fathers to become better parents, partners and providers.

“We want to get that message spread here in Butler County. It is already getting spread in Montgomery, Clark and Hamilton counties,” Shakur said.

The event is open to all members of the community and Shakur said that a disconnect happens when people think an event is open to only one segment of the community.

“Everybody is welcome and we want to see people from all walks of live from the county and community to show up,” he explained. “This is to help everybody come together for something special.”

Of course he wanted to entice people with a special event. The Grill Off for bragging rights as Middletown’s finest griller will be announced at the end of the evening. There is a cash prize for the winner.

The event received financial support from the Partnership to Reduce Infant Mortality, The Middletown Community Foundation and private donors according to Didlick-Davis.

Source: My Dad Rocks Event celebrates fatherhood in Middletown | www.journal-news.com

About Proud Poppas United

A former Youth Division Aide and Mental Health Therapist with the Office of Children and Family Services turned his reduction-in-force experience into a win-win situation, and many are reaping this harvest. When Tyrone “Zire” McCants, who is also a versatile services photographer and visionary in the Phoenix, AZ, lost his job; he took his youthful interest in photography and his prior knowledge from working in a family-centered position into new ventures. He even figured out a way to coincide his two passions into meaningful opportunities to advance his cause. The layoff he faced freed him up to develop his photography business (Zire Photography & Graphics) and to showcase his skills as a prolific artist. One of those ventures that McCants created was an initiative called Proud Poppas United; which is a community-based group designed to strengthen the bonds between fathers & their children. It aims to encourage a tradition of fatherhood and family, increasing the number of active fathers in our community. When McCants isn’t intellectually cultivating his repertoire of talents, he manages to merge his interest in photography with his desire and passion for fatherhood. Using the Proud Poppas Photo Project, as his flagship initiative, he displays images which celebrate and encourage the pride of being an active father. In many minority and ethnic communities, there is a progressive concern of absentee fathers and the devastating effects of this challenge on our children, our families, and community. He also believes that by displaying these images will help to shed light on and celebrate the gift of fatherhood. He hopes that this movement will also become contagious and bring other men closer to their children and families, and encourage a presence of well-being and development in our children, our families, our communities and our people as a whole. McCants quotes that “My scope is capturing the energy between a father and his children” and that’s what he is creating through his community development initiatives. Through, a first look into the reality concerning “Responsible Fathers” many disturbing statistics and contributing factors related to absent fathers. But, to the credit of McCants, he has been able to overlook the negative stereotypes and prejudices that have perpetuated his community and rise to the occasion. Although, he wears many hats that provide guidance and leadership to the infrastructure of his life’s purpose. To all of the fathers out there with the silent victories of triumph and the principle-centered leadership; who fight depression, financial woes, relationship conflicts, the penal system and the racism of our day; McCants say’s “Thank you” for all that you have been able to get accomplished behind your veil of anonymity. You have just endured the last 13 years of this millennium, and you are still here to tell about it. Although some will say that these last few years have been amazing they are still asleep to the fact that; we (The black community) must work with higher ideals versus dollars and cents. We must look within ourselves and see us as being brave, black, accountable, and reliable. The truth of the matter is that you are embracing fatherhood but at a frequency that may not be understood. I am with you as we will not look at the diluted statistics but at the “transformational leadership” that is displayed by all black fathers and role models everywhere. Don’t give up now as our families are leaning on you in these times of difficulty to represent us to the best of your ability as the “Mighty Men of Valor.” You are the man for the job, and now it’s time to come out of hiding and show the world what real black men look like; and we represent as a tribe of Intellectual builders, teachers, warriors, leaders and Kings. “Fatherhood is not a right; it’s a privilege. Your children are the best part of you. I send my love to this new generation of fathers who have learned from the sins of the past and take a very active role in the lives of our children. ~RAPPER TALIB KWELI, FATHER OF TWO

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