Guest Post: Fatherhood taught me the value of quality time

Jun 21, 2016  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  1 comment

Devin Coleman2Devin Coleman is an author, poet and speaker, and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the NEFL Fatherhood Task Force. In honor of Father’s Day, he shares an important lesson he learned as a dad.

One the most important lessons I’ve learned thus far as a single Father is the importance of spending quality time with my daughter. Often times parents (men in particular) focus on the financial obligations of child rearing such as shelter, electricity, food, and clothing. Provision is a very important aspect of raising a child, especially if we expect them to perform optimal in school as well as the community at large, but it is not the only thing to consider. I have come to realize that we as men have a duty to nurture our children as well.

One afternoon after picking my daughter up from her after school program she asked, “What are we going to do today Daddy?” The innocent and sincere manner in which she proposed the question shifted my entire perspective of Fatherhood. I looked in her eyes and told her, “We are spending quality time together.” Her face lit up with joy and revealed a beautiful smile and almost instantaneously she said, “That means no phone daddy!”

Devin Coleman1From those two questions I learned that in her mind quality time with me was very important and her definition of quality time meant no outside distractions. At that moment “Daddy Daughter” in our household became a reality. It’s during these times I have an opportunity to impart our family’s moral and value system into her. I tell her about her lineage and the importance of legacy. The conversations that we have during our quality time has brought us closer showing her that I value her and her words.  Thereby building the type of trust that will give her the courage to come to her Father and confide in me in the future. My words say I love you and you’re important, but my actions show that I actually mean it.

In conclusion, I would like to think that Fatherhood has caused me to become a better man.  As I’ve come to realize the awesome responsibility it carries.  As men we are the first interaction that our children will have with a male.  It’s vital that we set the stage properly, showing them what a man is and what a man does.  This will potentially serve as a measuring stick by which our sons strive to be and the qualities our daughters seek in a potential mate.

Commitment to Change rallies dads to make a positive effort

Mar 7, 2016  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  1 comment

IMG_0087[1]Several hundred Northeast Florida dads and their family members came out to the Edward Waters College Student Center on Saturday, March 5 to commit to improve their current situation and their relationship with their children. The Commitment to Change Rally, the Northeast Florida Fatherhood Task Force’s inaugural event, featured speakers, a food giveaway, vendor fair and more.

The goal of the rally was to inspire fathers to make changes to their current employment, legal, financial, family or economic situations, to allow them to be better fathers. The event concluded with participants taking a pledge to be responsible fathers.

Approximately 5,000 pounds of food was distributed at the event. Featured vendors included the State Attorney’s Office, Boot Camp for New Dads, the Department of Health and more. Radio station 93.3 The Beat was on live at the event. Travis Pinckney served as event MC.

Molina Healthcare sponsored the rally. Donated items from Publix, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Omni hotel, the Jacksonville Suns, Grassroots Natural Market, the Jacksonville Armada and Batt Family Fun Center were raffled off during the event.

Commitment to Change Fatherhood Rally

Jan 27, 2016  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  1 comment

iStock_000016287227LargeNortheast Florida fathers are invited to a rally on March 5th that focuses on the commitment to improve their current situation and their children. The Commitment to Change Rally, the Northeast Florida Fatherhood Task Force’s inaugural event, will be held at the Edward Waters College Athletic Center from 12-3 pm.

The goal of the rally is to inspire fathers to make changes to their current employment, legal, financial, family or economic situations, to allow them to be better fathers.

Some of the highlights of rally include:

  • Educational materials
  • Door prizes
  • Male-focused service providers providing health screens, legal advice, assistance with restoring rights, record expungement, resume writing, job fairs, fair housing and more
  • Guest speakers will discuss the positive aspects of being apart of a fatherhood program, how involved fathers can shape the lives of their children and produce positive outcomes

The Northeast Florida Fatherhood Task Force began meeting in August 2015 to ensure children grow up with a responsible father in their life by addressing the significant and far-reaching challenges that men in the community face.

Healthy Start Holiday Wish List

Nov 2, 2015  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  1 comment

Your donation can help moms like Shrew, a Magnolia Project participant who just gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Jordan.

Your donation can help moms like Shrew, a Magnolia Project participant who just gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Jordan.

Every day, the Coalition’s staff and community encounter families in need of items to help them be healthy and happy. This holiday season, please consider helping out.

Ways to help:

  • Please consider making a monetary contribution. Your tax deductible donation will help us meet the needs of families (like Shrew and Todd).  and continue to provide quality programming that makes sure EVERY baby has a healthy start.
  • Donate needed items to the Coalition:
    • HIGH NEED Diapers
    • HIGH NEED Toothbrushes & toothpaste
    • HIGH NEED Books for ages 0-3
    • Personal hygiene items: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap, etc.
    • Gift cards (gas stations, grocery stores)
    • Household products: cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.

Contact Sara Rieger at 904.723.5422 x124 or for information on how to donate.

Growing Responsible Fathers program to provide comprehensive services to dads

Oct 15, 2015  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

iStock_000007275271MediumThe Healthy Start Coalition was awarded a five-year grant from the Administration for Children & Families to provide comprehensive fatherhood services to dads in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

The Coalition’s “Growing Responsible Fathers” program will strengthen and expand responsible fatherhood, employment, housing, health care, mentoring and recidivism reduction services through case management, referrals and group classes.

The Coalition established fatherhood as a priority in 2009-2014 Service Delivery Plan. Due to the growing need for Fatherhood Responsibility and its impact on Maternal Child Health, the Coalition has developed a Fatherhood Initiative Task Force for Northeast Florida region and plans to collaborate with area fatherhood providers. The program will build on the foundations established by the Coalition and the Florida Department of Revenue – Child Support Enforcement Department’s “Bringing Relief, Education and Assets to Children and their Household” Project (BREACH), which ceased services in August 2014.

The needs of referred fathers will be assessed and addressed through a three-tier case management system, that will include a text message personalized education and reminder system, peer mentorship, group classes and a variety of community referrals, including but not limited to financial literacy classes through Real$ense, employment assistance through the Jacksonville Urban League, fatherhood training using evidence-based curricula from the National Fatherhood Initiative and more.

Program and partner agency staff will also receive training on domestic violence and preventing, detecting and reporting child abuse. The Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives at the University of North Florida will serve as local project evaluator.