Ignacio and Evelia at Dads in the Park
Do you remember your first Father’s Day? At Brighter Beginnings, we believe that every kid should get a chance to create memories with their dad or male role model on a special day. But since so many fathers and children are disconnected, not all kids get this valuable, formative opportunity to bond with their dads.
But lots of families would jump at this experience if only given the right venue. Because of the strength of our Fatherhood team and local community connections, this is precisely the kind of experience Brighter Beginnings can create. And that’s exactly what we did on Tuesday, June 18th at the Josie de la Cruz Park in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood.
The purpose of this free program was to provide outdoor space, safety, and facilitation for young dads and their kids to explore and engage with each other. Along with a special station for children to create Father’s Day cards, Brighter Beginnings staff set up jump ropes, soccer challenges, face painting, hula hoop, and Frisbee.
We had over 30 families participate that day, including 16 fathers and “father figures.” Some fathers commented on the age range of fellow dads, one father shared that he never had attended a community event acknowledging just fathers before – and others simply played catch with their kids. Many fathers attended on their own, without their child’s mother.
More than a few were simply amazed that we were doing an event just to celebrate fathers in our community. In fact, a few young men playing basketball on a nearby court came over to check things out, and wound up engaging with our staff about their own goals for fatherhood!