Good fathers do wonders for families, communities
June 15, 2007
Being a father, or mother for that matter, is not an easy job. In fact, most parents admit to making plenty of mistakes early on, and just when they get good, the kids are grown and gone.
And that spells out a solution to one of our most troublesome problems not only in Carson City, but nationwide – we have a desperate need for solid role models who can give children a sense of belonging. There are 24 million children in the United States growing up in homes without fathers. Hundreds of them are in Carson City. And, because of the prisons in and around Carson City, many children have parents who are incarcerated.
In their absence, youth find that sense of belonging elsewhere, which is one reason that gangs are becoming an increasing problem.
There’s little question that some strong role models could do wonders in the lives of those children. Ruth Gordon, director of the Mentor Center, sees that happen all the time. The center has been matching children with mentors for years, with 70 current matches, but still has 14 boys and three girls waiting for mentors. Most of the children are from single-parent families.
Gordon says there are many men and women in our community who would be perfect mentors, including fathers, grandfathers and even those who have never had children. Meanwhile, a group called the National Fatherhood Initiative (www.fatherhood.org) has a program called Double Duty Dad, which recognizes the critical need for more good parenting in our society and encourages dedicated fathers to help not only other kids, but other fathers.
If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, call the Mentor Center at 445-3346, or visit the Web page http://mentor.wnc.edu. Also, Big Brothers/Big Sisters has a chapter in Carson City and can be reached at 283-0606.