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The Fatherhood Connection is moving across Monroe and Livingston Counties.We having excellent groups in N.Y. area. amd even groups for boys. We hope you enjoy the presentation. If you would like us to present in your area, or are interested n speaking opportunities or presentations, please contact us at

Fatherhood Connection from Duprey Video Productions on Vimeo.

4 Things Black Fathers Should Know About Raising Sons

4 Things Black Fathers Should Know About Raising Sons

Photo Credit: iStock

By Keith Dent

As my phone rang, I touched the red button on my iPhone and said, “Hello.” Henry pleaded, “Coach, I need your help.”

Henry was a student of mine whom I had mentored since he was a senior in high school. He was now a 28 year-old single parent of a 3-year-old son. He had just recently received sole custody of the boy and was doing everything he could to raise his son the right way.

Henry’s son had just lashed out physically against his girlfriend. When Henry asked him to apologize, he refused and began to cry uncontrollably. Henry was at his wits end, because he had no idea what to do next, who would he ask for parenting advice from AmyandRose.

It wasn’t just because Henry was new to this parenting thing. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any history on how to raise a son because his father didn’t raise him. He died at an early age. But he’s not the only black male to grow up without a dad around. The epidemic of fatherless sons is far too common now in the African-American community and it’s having life and death implications for our sons.

According to Children: Our Ultimate Investment, 72 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for figures. The figures are 17 percent for Asians, 29 percent for whites, 53 percent for Hispanics and 66 percent for Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for which government figures are available. Other telling figures:

  • Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.
  • Children in father-absent households had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds.
  • Adolescents, particularly boys, in single-parent families were at higher risk of status, property and person delinquencies. Moreover, students attending schools with a high proportion of children of single parents are also at risk.

By not having a male role model, Henry had planned to use the only discipline he was expected to use, physical punishment. Fortunately, he reached out to me first. (I have two boys who I have been blessed with raising.) I offered these suggestions that will go a long way to saving our black boys to suffering the same fates as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner and countless others.

 1. Use Your Words

In school we taught our kids at an early age to use their words to express their feelings. One of the challenges is as men we don’t often practice what we preach and lash out physically when we get frustrated. Since our boys are going to emulate our actions, then we have to start modeling less physical methods of confrontation. Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson used corporal punishment because that’s the way he was raised. Your son will do the same thing and it may eventually land him in a situation he may regret.

 2. Apologize for Your Actions

We must help our sons realize that their actions have consequences. If you are going to lash out, commit a crime, beat up your wife, or attack a police officer there will be consequences which you can’t control. In order to make amends, you must apologize for your actions. We can no longer claim to be a victim for our behavior.

 3. Acknowledge You Have a Choice

After doing the wrong thing, show him how to do it right. By showing him he has an alternative, will empower him to hopefully make the right choice when he is confronted again. I know Eric Garner was tired of being harassed by the police for the same crime. Instead of initially letting the police take him into custody, he chose to put up a fight which ended fatally. Walk away if things get too intense.

Henry, as an inexperienced father, was ready to lash out at his son. The pressure of the crying, the constant whining was getting too intense for him to handle. Since we’re taught to not back down from conflict, or a challenge he was prepared to handle it the only way he knew how.

“I’m ready to give spank him,” he said. Then I asked him, “Imagine if this was you being hit? How would you feel about that?” The smart thing to do is to walk away, count to 10, gather your thoughts then come back to address the issue. According to the testimony of policer officer, Darren Wilson, Michael Brown was asked to just walk on the sidewalk. Michael Brown, chose to not to walk away, but to confront.

 4. Hug Him and Tell Him You Love Him

When I was talking to Henry, I could hear his son in the background yelling, “Daddy, Daddy!” So I told him, “You need to assure your son you’re not leaving.” Unfortunately, his son’s mother after a couple of years of arguing with Henry on how to raise their son, decided she wanted no part of it, and left him sole custody. At 3, he was still trying to process not seeing his mother every day, just as he would if Henry was not there.

More from YourTango: 6 Things You Should NEVER Say To Your Kids

Then I told Henry, “When you hang up the phone and everything calms down, give him a hug and tell him that you love him.” With that said, Henry hung up the phone.

A few minutes later, my phone rang again. As I voiced, “Hello,” Henry simply said, “Thank You!” Everything is calm now.

We are at a critical point in the lives of our young African-American men that we have to individually assess how we are raising them and figure out what we can do to keep our families intact, or at least co-parent effectively. We can no longer rely on just teachers, single parents, and outside forces to do it for us.

Keith Dent is a YourTango Expert and premiere life coach when it comes to empowering teens and couples to have better relationships.


ACT teams with communities to better support young parents

Erin Graupman, District Coordinator of Student Health Services,  Rochester City School District

This  ( past ) July 2014, Pathways to Success community teams from Buffalo, the Bronx, and Rochester met for the first time on campus. They reviewed the results from needs and resources assessments of services and support available for young parents in their respective cities. Funded by the New York State Department of Health, and administered through the BCTR’s ACT for Youth Center of Excellence, the Pathways to Success Initiative pairs one public school district with one community college (in Buffalo, the Bronx, and Rochester). The aim of this initiative is to create community infrastructure that will help expectant and parenting teens and young adults improve their health, education, and self-sufficiency, as well as strengthen their families.

Jane Powers, director of ACT for Youth, explains the importance of this initiative,

This project tries to improve outcomes for this population, who are prone to fall through the cracks of our service delivery systems. Often they don’t finish school and don’t get prenatal care, which can compromise their future health, occupational and economic outcomes.

To inform the initiative, ACT for Youth developed a process that engaged each community in the assessments. The community partners gathered data through a series of key informant interviews with local agencies. Then ACT for Youth staff consulted expectant and parenting youth by conducting focus groups in each community. Data from the interviews and focus groups were coded here at Cornell. ACT for Youth staff then travelled to each community to discuss findings in “data dialogue” sessions that allowed for rich and locally-based reflection and planning.

Reginald L. Cox

As the final step in this process, staff from each community project came together in Ithaca on July 14-15, 2014. The first day was dedicated to connecting across the communities, followed by workshops given by Jutta Dotterweich (ACT for Youth director of training and technical assistance) on collaboration, systems-level change, and sustainability. On the second day, groups focused on finding common themes, defining and prioritizing actionable steps, and a hearing a closing talk on engaging fathers from a regionally known expert, Reginald L. Cox, director of the Fatherhood Connection.


 New York communities join to help teen parents – Cornell Chronicle



Sometimes the love of a parent heals, too.


 The Fatherhood Connection was in the news this week as we graduated our men from the program… Read here for more information on WXXI.  and on  Rochester local news 

 Photo by Alex Crichton

Photo by Alex Crichton


“I suddenly remember being very little and being embraced by my father.

I would try to put my arms around my father’s waist, hug him back. I could never reach the whole way around the equator of his body; he was that much larger than life. Then one day, I could do it.

I held him, instead of him holding me, and all I wanted at that moment was to have it back the other way.”

― Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts

Teen fathers have dreams, too… let’s support them.

Ellen Blalock creates stories in media of fathers and others. She created this video in support of teen fathers called : “The Father Project”.
Her role as a narrative artist is to create a vehicle of visual and oral communication to narrate the lives of people that need to be heard and listened to. She says her job is to listen, to record, to make available the voices and stories of what is missing.

The Fathers’ Project, Beyond Boundaries in Ghana, The Quilt Project, Know Me, the WHOLE Me and CAGE have all grown out of her need to help give voices to people and communities that need their stories told.


Source:  Click here.

11 Facts About Teen Dads

In the United States, about 750,000 women under the age of 20 become pregnant every year, meaning that about 750,000 men are also involved in teen pregnancies.

1. Eight out of 10 teen dads don’t marry the mother of their child.
2. Absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support.
3. Teen fathers are required to pay child support until the child is 18-years-old.
4. Only one in five mothers receives child support from the father.
5. Teen fathers earn 10 to 15 percent less annually than men who wait to have children.
6. Teen dads are less likely to finish high school than their peers.
7. Teen fathers are more likely to get involved with criminal behavior, including alcohol and drug abuse.
8. Children who don’t live with their fathers are five times more likely to be poverty-stricken than children with both parents at home.
9. An unmarried father has rights and responsibilities concerning custody, visitation and child support. However, an unmarried father needs to take legal action to obtain these rights and responsibilities.
10. Teen fathers face a lack of teen parent programs to help them.
11. Get the conversation about sex started. GO

– Teresa Roca is a NYC writer who is obsessed with celebrities, sports and movies. Her favorite cause is bullying and violence.

Sources:  DOSOMETHING.ORG , Stay Teen, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, eHow, LiveStrong

REG AND REG  This article is by my sister, Jennifer R. Owens – she  writes  on her blog at Life of JennRene and she  does a really  good job writing, is a writing coach, and  a social worker in the field who has worked with lots of families. Sometimes I  share with her I wish she were here, in Rochester, N.Y so we could work together. One of the best things I have witnessed in my lifetime  and  in my   family is my brother and my nephew, Reg & Reg – working together in the field  of  counseling and advice for men and fathers. I had a chance last year when I visited Rochester, to sit in one of their fatherhood  groups. I had never  witnessed them working together, and I tell you … it was amazing to see and hear their input, firsthand. It’s funny, I have to tell you, I never thought my nephew (Lil Reg – we call ’em) – would go into the field of social work or counseling of men.  I just thought “football” would forever be his life!   Reg LOVES football more than anything else, so when he spoke about  goals  and pursuing them in life, I never heard him even slightly talk about  doing this kind of work. One of the things I have been to my brother Reg, and I am sure he won’t mind I say this, is a “sister coach” of sorts, I have always  mentioned  to him, when things were not so  positive in the past with his kids – to “keep reaching out”…  and I and delighted to say, Reg has done just that. As he  works on his business with The Fatherhood Connection, I see  the program growing and helping men find broken pieces of their lives and find understanding.  I love most of all, they find ANSWERS.

I am the creative mind behind Reggie’s blog  and help him with social media, and  last year when I was home in Rochester, I spent time in a group for the men.  I was in the audience on the floor, videotaping and… my brother putting me on the spot. He asked the impact that having  a father who was an alcoholic in my life growing up had on me. I  began to just share with the men in the group my thoughts and insight about this, and I share also on the blog.(

As I spoke, I  shared  with the men and I saw something I never saw before in a large group setting. I saw men in front of me, with sincere looks of   concern, and   I heard  stories of where the neglect  we experienced by my father early on came from. I was able to see fathers holding on, being strong for daughters and telling stories of how they reach out to their daughters,  and will do even more, because of what they heard me tell about my relationship  with my father, when young. I heard fathers say they will continue to “cover” their daughters,  when there are no men in their lives, and I heard stories of how fathers love their daughters and want more, and will do more because  they desire  her to be happy in her future. I was also able to see on a larger scale the effects father hunger has on women. I had never really considered  this in-depth while at the same time mentoring fathers of this pain and seeing the expressions on their faces in having them know just how important it really is, helped me to  desire to DO MORE for women in terms of bringing families together. In this group, in particular,  I found a greater passion for the women I serve in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I shared stories of these women who have  not had fathers in their lives — where they end up. Hopefully,  my  words helped someone in that group, and hopefully, my cause will be greater, because of my pain and my hurt when young. Hopefully, fathers will change their lives because of those words shared in the room, that day. When I observe my nephew’s future and  I  observe also the reconciliation between father and son, between my brother and his son, I  become emotional; yet grateful.  I also  I become confident and hopeful about my nephew’s future. Reggie ( Jr.)  will have  a more positive relationship with his children and his  wife, because  of what he has witnessed in terms of my family’s healing, and  for that, I am thankful. This didn’t come about easy,  it has  taken a  long time, and a lot of prayer, and a lot of communication and re-building — even when family members didn’t want to, and were hurt because of it. Yet when I look at the next generation, they will have HOPE, because we are taking  care of what we needed to , first.

So …build on…. fathers, build on… Selah.

-By JennRene Owens –  Blogger at Life Of JennRene JennRene ( a.k.a Jennifer Owens) is from Rochester, NY and currently resides in Tulsa Oklahoma.  Jennifer has been in the social work field for  over twenty three years and loves to help change minds and hearts for whole -hearted living.  Jennifer is  an  author and published  “Red Sea Situations: Finding Courage in  The Deep Seas of Life,”  last summer. Her blog Red Sea Courage can be found at and she has a compassion  to serve the underserved, the oppressed and those who long to find their voices.  JennRene also has a  gift for encouraging  people to  write books and is a life coach.   Once again, it’s all about finding voice