Program aims to improve fatherhood in the Bronx

A nearly decade-old program is providing men in the Bronx with the tools to become better fathers and better overall individuals.

The program, Visiting Nurse Service of New York Bronx Fatherhood Program, is providing fathers in the borough with the appropriate skills needed to be ready and prepared when it comes to being a parent.

The Bronx Fatherhood Program, which was started in 2007, provides workshops for dads who live in the Bronx, ages 16 to 35, to better themselves as a father, a co-parent and as an individual as a whole.

Topics of these workshops include parenting, child development, conflict resolution, domestic violence prevention, men’s health, etiquette, resume assistance and mock interviews – to improve their fathering abilities and themselves as earners.

The program has served as a life mentor for fathers and to-be fathers by providing a ‘parenting guide’ who participate in the workshops.

Less than 20% of fathers who attend the Bronx Fatherhood Program workshops had a father present in their household growing up.

The goal of this program is to break this cycle to improve children’s overall development, education, socialization and manners, along with promoting the idea of family.

The program’s age group was recently extended from to age 35 and their focus on just the south Bronx has been extended throughout the borough

Participants have also used to the program to acquire jobs. One Bronx father, who participated in the program for three years, was able to improve his resume and interviewing skills that helped him get a job position at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

He eventually got a job at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he still works today.

“The primary function of this program is to increase fatherhood presence in urban families and homes,” said Vincent Thomas, outreach coordinator, who has been with the program for five years and graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration.

“Historically, many families in the south Bronx did not include an active father role in their households. This program has a direct correlation to the improvement of a father’s presence in the household, and is great for present fathers, to-be fathers – even single fathers who are still involved in their child’s life,” he added.

Bronx Fatherhood Program seminars and workshops take place every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at Visiting Nurse Service of New York’s Friends building at 489-493 E. 153rd Street.

For more information, visit www.vnsny.org/about-us/in-the-community/initiatives-for-fathers

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.

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