The White House initiative Champions of Change seeks to honor a number of Americans who have stood out in particular areas of emphasis in order to solicit their ideas in order to maximize the potential for change in our society at the behest of the federal government and the community.
Last week, the White House focused on fatherhood in support of President Obama’s Fatherhood & Mentoring Initiative and in commemoration of Father’s Day. Each of the ten Champions of Change honorees contributed incredible work in the fields of fatherhood and low-income men and boys.
The event had an air of enthusiasm, as it was well-attended by many key stakeholders within the cause of advancing fatherhood and mentorship among children without fathers. In addition to the Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Joshua DuBois, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made appearances to share a few thoughts in honoring the Champions. Check out the event here.
Witnessing the excitement and passion for the fatherhood cause incites moments of reflection. Inspiring our youth by creating a lifelong bond from a father to a child is of paramount importance for the enhanced well-being of our children, and it is a cause that reaches out to us all—as each and every one of us has the potential to have a relationship with our fathers.
But, equally important, is the role we can play as mentors for those children who, due to circumstances beyond their control, do not have fathers in their lives. These children must be reminded that the absence of their fathers is to no fault of their own, and they must know that they are not forgotten.
Father’s Day is a celebration for everyone—be they fathers, mentors, potential mentors, and perhaps most importantly, the children whom are affected by the presence and absence of fatherhood and mentorship. In the words of the Attorney General: “of all the titles I’ve held in my life – lawyer, prosecutor, judge, U.S. Attorney, and, now, Attorney General – the one I’m most proud of is ‘father.’ As fathers, we have an opportunity today, as we do every day, to act responsibly in the lives of our own children. And by setting a good example, each of us can have a significant impact on the future of our nation, in profound and positive ways.”
Let us continue, and inspire others to begin, that work today.
Jarred Reiling serves as a Presidential Management Fellow within the U.S. Department of Justice Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.