On December 20, Queens’ child welfare agency Forestdale Inc. celebrated the fathers who completed its ’24/7 Dad’ parenting course created by its Fathering Initiative. The ceremony, which was held at Queens Museum, serves to recognize the re-commitment of fathers to their families.
The ’24/7 Dad’ parenting course is a free, intensive 12-week parenting and job training program that helps low-income, noncustodial fathers to become an active part of their children’s lives. Fathers learned about anger management, co-parenting, career and financial counseling through workshops held throughout the duration of the course. This is the only free fathering program available in Queens. This year 40 fathers successfully completed the program, which culminated in the “Stepping Up” graduation ceremony held one week ago. This ceremony takes place up to four times a year.
Besides the graduates, other attendees at this event included Fathering Initiative Director Larry Edwards, Associate Executive Director Rosemarie Ewing-James, and Jorge Fanjul, Chief of Staff for City Council Member Julissa Ferreras. Fanjul spoke about the importance of fathers being active within their children’s lives. “I may not remember every present that my father gave to me, but I do remember that he was there for me,” he stated. Towards the event’s conclusion, presents were given out to all the children in attendance.
Many organizations helped to sponsor this event including Baby Buggy, Ridgewood Savings Bank, WatchGuard 24/7, the Ridgewood YMCA, and Queens Musem itself.
The Forestdale Fathering Initiative was created in order to help fathers become an active part of their children’s lives. The initiative serves up to approximately 250 fathers and their families each year, with the support of New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development.
In other related news, Forestdale, Inc. is looking to build a new Teaching Kitchen within its facilities that would be used to host cooking classes and community events. Members of the local Western Queens community are encouraged to donate towards this great cause. Donations would go towards supporting the kitchen’s construction, as well as helping to hire professional instructors to come teach the classes. The classes would greatly benefit the youth served by Forestdale in learning about basic cooking skills, nutrition and budgeting.
To donate, please go to the Forestdale, Inc. website.
Forestdale, Inc. is Queens’ only child welfare agency that has been providing valuable services to children, teens, parents and other family members. These services include a foster care program, a pregnant and parenting teens program, family crisis intervention and its very own fathering initiative.