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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Strong Fathers. Strong Communities.

With this Sunday being Father's Day, the Administration is getting involved with a message about responsible fatherhood.

“Father’s Day reminds us parents that we have no more solemn obligation than to care for our children.  But far too many young people in America grow up without their dads, and our families and communities are challenged as a result,” said President Obama.  “Through my administration’s fatherhood initiative and the year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families, we’re taking steps to offer men who want to be good fathers a little extra help, while working with partners around the country to encourage personal responsibility and help fathers connect with kids.”

The administration is hosting military fathers and their children at the White House today for a picnic, along with a screening of Disney's movie, Cars 2.

Over the past two years, the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative has helped fathers nation-wide engage with their families by providing support for local fatherhood programs, town halls around the nation, partnerships with outside organizations and through  This effort is supportive of all families, and affirms the central role of mothers in the lives of our children, especially those who have stepped up to the plate when dads haven't been around.

The President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative is working to promote simple, yet meaningful, opportunities for dads and kids to connect through partnerships with organizations like bowling centers, sports leagues, zoos and aquariums and companies like LivingSocial and Groupon. Additionally, the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Office of Public Engagement have worked with cabinet secretaries across government to hold events highlighting fatherhood and mentorship:

· June 13th: On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan encouraged fathers and father figures to become more involved in education at a Watch D.O.G.S. program taking place at Two Rivers Public Charter School. Duncan was joined by Principle Maggie Bello and Watch D.O.G.S. coordinator Eric Snow. He toured the school and discussed the importance of father involvement in schools and education with students, parents and community members. He also spent time with participants of the Watch D.O.G.S. program and children who they’ve impacted.

· June 17-19th: U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan will announce a new effort to focus on fathers in public housing.

· June 20th: Through the Office of Public Engagement’s “Champions of Change” website, the White House will spotlight 12 dads from around the country who are doing great things for their families and communities, many in trying circumstances. The Corporation for National Services will continue to highlight additional “Champion” dads throughout the year.   
In an essay this month in People Magazine, the president, who grew up without a father, shares how growing up without a dad made him want to be the best parent he could.
"I have certain memories of him taking me to my first jazz concert and giving me my first basketball as a Christmas present", Obama writes. "But he left when I was two years old".   
More here

Video: Fatherhood PSA  

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