Barbershops in Dothan, Alabama have been buzzing with the news--stronger fathers build stronger communities. Spearheaded by Kris Doss with Healthy You, Inc., this Fall's Fatherhood Buzz brought four local barbershops together to facilitate a conversation between local dads on why staying healthy is so important. Over 175 people came into the four shops during the two-day event to talk and learn about the importance of fatherhood.
Supporting active fathers is one of the best ways to create a more vibrant and healthy community. When the father is present in the home, the mother can feel more supported. I have seen daughters often grow up with higher self-esteem and sons benefit from having a positive male role model. This multi-faceted effect on the family creates a better environment in the home and the community. But in order to be there for their families, fathers have to take care of themselves.
The culture of the barbershop lends itself to this type of conversation. Men of all ages spend the time chatting with their friends about a wide variety of topics. They often bring their sons with them, allowing the younger men to hear their fathers speak and learn from their example. It’s a great place to bring up the issues facing fathers today in a relaxed and comfortable environment.
Two barbershops, DJ’s Classic Cuts and His and Hers Barber and Beauty, hosted the first events with about 100 people who discussed why dads matter. The second event nearly doubled in size, adding Squirt and Louie’s and Styles Unlimited to the participating shops. With such a positive response from both the Dothan community and local media, events like Fatherhood Buzz are set to bring change to the area. A third Fatherhood Buzz event is planned for early next year focusing on relationships between fathers and members of their family.
The mission of Healthy You, Inc. is to enhance quality of life for citizens of Alabama through educational health initiatives and public awareness campaigns teaching personal responsibility when making lifestyle choices. This project is funded in part by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families,
Laura Stakelum is Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator for Healthy You Inc.
To find out more about upcoming Fatherhood Buzz efforts and ways to join - visit For Programs - Fatherhood Buzz
Many people in North Carolina’s Raleigh/Durham area have been talking about the buzz in their area recently. The buzz is coming from Raleigh’s Family Resource Center (FRC) as they raise awareness about responsible fatherhood and parenting by participating in the Fatherhood Buzz Barbershop Tour sponsored by the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse.
FRC’s participation in the Fatherhood Buzz Barbershop Tour kicked off in June during Father’s Day weekend at Park West Barber School in Durham, NC. Fathers were treated to doughnuts, coffee and juice courtesy of a local donut franchise while participating in an open discussion about fatherhood related issues. The conversation gave men the opportunity to express how they felt about fatherhood and provide positive resolutions for some of the problems that the community is facing. FRC also distributed information and resources that would be helpful to the men along their fatherhood journey. Participants also received information about FRC’s P.U.L.S.E. program which promotes the values of healthy relationships by tackling topics like communication skills, managing emotions, relationship compatibility, and more.
Since the barbershop is the cornerstone of many communities, FRC decided that holding these events regularly is a great way to reach out to men, provide them with valuable parenting tools and support, and invite them to participate in regular events like FRC’s annual conference held each June.
In the four months since the Buzz tour kicked off, FRC has reached over 100 men providing them with resources to help them understand the importance of fatherhood. Men from all walks of life have participated in the Buzz; former gang members, pastors, law enforcement agents, great grandfathers, and other men in the community who want to make a difference in the lives of our youth. The conversations that take place during these events are priceless. Discussions have covered topics such as gang violence, visitation, father’s rights, child support, and other issues that are affecting men in the community.
FRC is spreading the Fatherhood Buzz into four more counties as the program continues to offer avenues for fathers to gain education about responsible parenting.
Learn more about Family Resource Center of Raleigh.
Dion Chavis, Education Case Manager Project PULSE, Family Resource Center of Raleigh
Ed. Note: This post first appeared in the ACF Family Room Blog. Read the original post here.
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, killing 307,225 men in 2009—that’s 1 in every 4 male deaths?1
The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) sponsored another Fatherhood Buzz Outreach but this time the focus was Men’s Health. Fathers who model a healthy lifestyle can not only reduce their risk of heart disease but also can have a powerful and positive impact on the development and health of their children. In fact, children who have actively engaged fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically, and avoid drugs, violence, and delinquent behavior.
The Fatherhood Buzz events encourage fathers to be healthy, and to treat their health as part of their commitment to being a responsible father. The Office of Family Assistance’s NRFC has partnered with 50 community agencies and approximately 135 barbershops in 24 States and the District of Columbia to provide fathers with key tips, information and strategies that focus on men’s health and encourage fathers to “Take Time to be a Healthy Dad Today.”
On the weekend of Nov. 15-16, each barbershop was expected to distribute Fatherhood Buzz tip cards but many are going over and beyond. Three barbershops in Brooklyn, N.Y., partnered with community health centers to distribute men’s health information and offer health screenings. PB&J Family Services/Fathers Building Futures, an OFA fatherhood reentry grantee, distributed information on men's health and tattoo removal, and provided free popcorn and moon bounce for the kids.
The Fatherhood Buzz is a public awareness campaign that continues the dialogue about the importance of fathers. This past weekend, the Buzz emphasized the need for men to concentrate on their health so that they can care for their children. For more information, please go to http://fatherhood.gov/fatherhood-buzz/stay-connected
Lisa Washington-Thomas, Branch Chief, Self-Sufficiency Branch, Office of Family Assistance
1. Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung HC. Deaths: final data for 2009 [PDF-2M]. National vital statistics reports. 2011;60(3).
Recording artists. Professional athletes. The occasional reality TV star stopping by. This is the clientele that frequents Midieast Studios in Alexandria, Virginia. The facility, originally opened as a music recording studio, now has a video editing & photography room, tattoo shop and most recently added, a barbershop. As the barbershop is historically known to be the cornerstone of men’s open dialogue, you can only imagine the rich conversations around sports, music, and entertainment that occur in Midieast Celebrity Barbershop. But this past June, the convo took a slight turn from the norm. Shop owner Eric “E-Storm” Gonzales and Matt Crews from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), facilitated a 2 hour long event under the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. The topic: fatherhood.
Initially a group of 22 men convened in the barbershop and told stories of the birth of their first child, their academic or athletic accomplishments, and some of the major obstacles they’ve faced parenting. There was an incredible wave of emotion in the room. When talking about the birth of their first child, most of the men expressed sentiments of joy, whether they were present or not. Almost the same for academic and athletic accomplishments. The barbershop was filled with smiles and laughter.
When talking about the parenting obstacles, the room took on a more serious tone. There were looks of concern for some of the subjects discussed. But not concern out of judgment. More of a “I’ve been there before” look. All of the men related. And as they related more and more, they began offering advice and suggestions to each other. Some even began side conversations from the group and exchanged phone numbers. It was clear that they all wanted for every man in that room to succeed at being the best father they could possibly be.
The NRFC provided resources on responsible fatherhood and strengthening families to all attendees and even those passing by. But as we wrapped up at Midieast Studio, it was clear that the most valuable resource at this event were the guys themselves connecting and supporting each other. The stories they shared and friendships that were made will go long beyond anything we had to offer. And that’s what Fatherhood Buzz is about. Creating a positive and informative dialogue on fatherhood that leaves men with the encouragement to continue to Take Time to Be a Dad Today.
Find out more about Fatherhood Buzz and ways to get involved by visiting the Fatherhood Buzz section of Fatherhood.gov.
Matt Crews, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse Team
In just a few short weeks, Antonio* went from being a client receiving fatherhood services to an advocate to the community about the importance of fathers and families.
Antonio attended the Creating Lasting Family Connections (CLFC) Fatherhood Program within Jefferson County Reentry Fatherhood Initiative. Antonio often spoke about his hair-cutting abilities. After completing the program, Antonio found the confidence to open his own barbershop in Louisville, KY. The barbershop was the physical fulfillment of Antonio’s dream.
Shortly thereafter, Jefferson County Reentry Fatherhood Initiative (JCRFI) staff approached Antonio about participating in Fatherhood Buzz, a national event coordinated by the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. During this annual effort, community agencies partner with barbershops to promote responsible fatherhood and to provide resource material for fathers. Antonio immediately indicated an excitement and willingness to participate with us on Father’s Day weekend. Through hosting the event in his barbershop, Antonio demonstrated a desire to pass on what he learned to other fathers interested in successfully raising their children.
This is just one of the 275 low-income adult returning offenders whose lives have been impacted as a result this program. JCRFI has enhanced the skills of these parents or potential caregivers of minor children increasing their relationships skills with their partners and children. Parents or potential caregivers have also described higher levels of resiliency and economic stability.
- 98% of respondents reported “Strongly agree” or “Agree” that they feel capable of saying “no” when they need to, after participating in the program.
- 91% of respondents reported “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” that they have confidence in their ability to influence their own children regarding alcohol and drug related decisions, after participating in the program.
- 90% of participants reported that that they and their family have the ability to increase family bonding, after participating in the program.
- 85% of participants reported that they feel better about creating expectations and consequences in their family since they participated in the CLFC Fatherhood Program.
JCRFI continues to encourage and support fathers transitioning back into the community. As an aspect of this transition, we are working to leverage their specific skills and strengths to enhance their own economic stability just like Antonio with his hair cutting ability.
We are seeing fathers like Antonio offer support to other fathers in the local community creating a network of opportunity, wellness and hope.
*Antonio is a fictitious name used in this write-up based on our policy to protect the identity of COPES programming participants.
Learn more about COPES at http://www.copes.org.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance
This Father's Day weekend, there was a "buzz" of excitement in the air the National Fatherhood Buzz Tour was in full swing. Thousands of fathers and their families came out to more than 140 barbershops in over 68 cities nationwide to get their haircut and receive tips, advice and information about local resources from local family of organizations and community partners.
Fatherhood Buzz is an effort to promote responsible fatherhood through one of the most trusted community resources for men: Barbershops. Visit almost any barbershop and you will immediately witness an intergenerational dialogue on a range of topics from sports to politics to family.
Building on the success of the inaugural Fatherhood Buzz Outreach last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse teamed with participating Office of Family Assistance (OFA) grantees, community partners, and barbershops across the country. The goal: to provide fathers with key tips for spending quality time with their children and information encouraging, supporting and celebrating fathers.
Two such partners gave us quick updates on how Fatherhood Buzz went in Texas and Tennessee.
Bridgette Jones of the Houston Marriage Project told our team that "Many fathers took the New Dad tips and the NRFC Call Center Information (877-4DAD-411) Cards on Saturday and loved what we were doing in the community to promote responsible fatherhood."
Richard Beaty, Responsible Fatherhood Director of TEAM DAD coordinated through Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority, spoke to our team about the success that their organization. “TEAM DAD, worked with Ledford's Barbershop in Morristown, TN.... There were fathers and sons who came the shop that day for a trim and asked learned some valuable advice about responsible fathering!"
We will be sharing Fatherhood Buzz stories over the next several weeks via the DadTALK Blog as well as Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #fatherhoodbuzz. Stay tuned for those stories as well as find out how you can get involved in the next Fatherhood Buzz effort!
Edward Lawson is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse
I’m sure that you have all heard the statement, “they don’t have a manual that comes with your child when they are born on how to be a parent”. There still isn’t a manual, but there are some cheat sheets. The NRFC’s Fatherhood Buzz Tip cards can be found online, and may be at your local barbershop. Barbershops are safe havens where men gather to get a haircut and talk about life’s events. What are the tips? They are simple and straightforward.
- Spend time with your children. Each moment can create positive memories.
- Always keep your promises. It builds and maintains trust with your children.
- Celebrate and praise your children’s accomplishments. It will increase their confidence and encourage them to keep trying.
- Tell both your sons and daughters that you love them. Not just for what they do. But for whom they are.
Spend time…Sometimes as parents we don’t realize how important spending time with our children is. Little moments mean a lot. My father was a Union Pacific Railroad waiter. The family used to see him off at the front door when he was going out on the road. At eight years of age Daddy always let me carry his suitcase. After kissing my mother, older sister and younger brother good bye he would say to me, “Take care of everybody. You are the man of the house.” Looking back on it now I realize that Daddy did not consider me to be a man. But for that brief period in time he taught me about what a man is supposed to do to keep his family safe. Those words have stayed with me for a lifetime.
Keep your promises…One of the first things that fathers can teach their child is how to trust. An infant develops trust when his cries are met with a clean diaper, a bottle or by holding her securely in her father’s arms. Children thrive on consistency. Continue to be there for them to meet their needs. Keeping your promises completes the bridge between the development of trust to a child with integrity.
Praise your child for their accomplishments. If you tell her she is smart, pretty, good, kind and trustworthy, they will believe it themselves. Why? Because Daddy said so! It will give them the courage to persevere when life throws them a curve.
Always tell your sons and daughters that you love them. A father’s demonstration of love for his daughter will keep them from looking for love in all the wrong places when they get older. Dads, please remember this. Showing your son affection and telling him you love him will not make him soft. Those three words are money in the bank that they can draw from to enrich their lives and those close to them.
There really isn’t a manual that comes with the birth of your child. But, the Fatherhood Buzz Tips for Fathers helps to lay the foundation… and your time, promises, praise and love are the building blocks for their future.
Dr. Ronald Banks, Project Fatherhood, Children’s Institute.
Our views on money management were modeled by our parents. Attitudes and fears are attributable to lessons that we learned or didn’t learn growing-up. Before teaching your children about finances, it is important to explore and understand your relationship with money. Understanding your own emotional relationship with it will help you to avoid passing on bad habits. Fatherhood Buzz has listed four tips for teaching your children money management. They are: keep a budget; track expenses; check credit scores; and start saving.
Have you ever tried and failed to keep a budget? Most of us have. The key is to make it realistic. An unrealistic budget is doomed to failure. If your budget is too restrictive, you will not follow it. When planning your budget, it is important to make a list of essential items. It is also important to teach your children to reward themselves on occasion. Going “cold turkey” on pleasurable purchases often leads to failure. Creating a realistic budget and following it, will help you to accomplish your financial goals whether it’s eliminating debt, building your savings or making a large purchase.
Track all your expenses. It will help you see where you spend your money. It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.
Did you know that it’s free to check your credit score once a year? Checking credit scores ensures that you are aware of all your debt and can correct any errors. Teach your children that bad credit scores can affect everything from getting a job to renting an apartment or buying a house.
Finally, create a “rainy day” fund or savings account by saving even a small amount of your check every pay day. Teach your children to “pay themselves first” by making regular deposits into your savings account. When I was a boy, my uncle encouraged me to save a quarter every day. I only did it for a short period of time, but can you imagine how much money your child would have by eighteen by saving a quarter every day? For children, even saving a smaller amount each day is a great practice.
Implementing these tips and passing them on to your children will create financial practices discipline that will pay dividends for your children. Managing money well is vital to their future.
Dr. Ronald Banks, Project Fatherhood, Children’s Institute.
Recent Studies reveal that over 24 million children in the United States living apart from their biological fathers are two to three times more likely to be poor, abuse drugs and alcohol, experience emotional, health, behavioral and education problems, and engage in criminal activity.
How are American communities and organizations responding?
In response, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NFRC) has been partnering with communities and organizations across the nation through Fatherhood Buzz, an initiative to support barbershops in connecting dads with local resources to help build strong families.
In the South Bronx, the Osborne Association’s Fatherhood Initiative, a program that works with formerly incarcerated fathers and their children, has partnered with Fatherhood Buzz to give resources and tips for parenting to their participants.
What kinds of tips for parenting do they teach?
- Spend time with your child, use every moment with your child to create positive memories
- Keep your promises that you made to your child, this builds trust between you and your child
- Celebrate your child’s accomplishments, praising your child gives them confidence and encourages them to keep trying to pursue what is right
- Consistently tell your sons and daughters that you love them, remind them that you love them for who they are, not for what they have done
Osborne’s Fatherhood Initiative not only teaches these Fatherhood Buzz Tips in the classroom, but they provide fathers the opportunity to use these tips by attending special events with their children. Recently, Osborne’s Fatherhood Initiative organized and provided for their participants and their children to attend a Yankee’s game, visit the New York Aquarium, and explore the Bronx Zoo. These events provided an avenue for fathers to create special memories and build trust with their child(ren).
Interested in Fatherhood Buzz tips you could use at home with your child?
Creating special moments with your children helps strengthen your relationship, improve communication, and improve their self-esteem. Spending quality time together doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some ideas to get started!
- Tell your favorite childhood stories to your children
- Read aloud to your child
- Share old photos of yourself
- Prepare a family meal together
- Turn off the TV and play a board game together
- Do an outside activity with your children, like a nature walk, gardening, or bike riding
- Do an arts and crafts project, like creating a family album or draw pictures
For more information regarding your questions about parenting and fatherhood in the United States, check out our Tips for Parenting, or visit us at fatherhood.gov!
Fatherhood Buzz - Back to School Initiative: Effective Strategies for Increasing Father Involvement in Schools
Thursday August 23, 2012 - 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM (EASTERN)
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) is providing a technical assistance webinar for all responsible fatherhood practitioners, including current OFA grantees, and other interested stakeholders. The webinar will provide ideas and resources to help increase father involvement in schools and their children’s education. Information will be provided on various initiatives that have helped engage fathers and father figures, inspire children, reduce bullying, and generally improve the educational environment in order that men may become more involved in the lives of their children.
Goals of Webinar: After this training webinar, participants will improve their knowledge and understanding of:
- The importance and impact of father involvement in schools.
- Strategies that fatherhood practitioners can use to engage with local schools and school districts in order to increase father involvement in schools and improve outcomes for children.
- Resources and tips for fathers to help them increase their involvement in schools and their children’s education.
Moderator: Dennis Bega, Acting National Director of Regional Operations, Office of Communications and Outreach, US Department of Education
- J. Michael Hall, President and Founder, Strong Fathers - Strong Families
- Betsy Landers, President, National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
- Philip Jackson, Founder and Executive Director, The Black Star Project
Facilitator: Patrick Patterson, Manager, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse
Visit our Webinar section for details on how to join the webinar!