Happy Father's Day: Celebrating Horizons' Dads

Happy Father’s Day: Celebrating Horizons’ Dads

A few weekends ago, the country celebrated Father’s Day and the impact fathers have on their children. In honor of that, we wanted to recognize a few of the dads we have the opportunity to work with at Horizons. Our Family Partnerships program encourages fathers to embrace and feel confident in their role as a parent, working closely with them to nurture meaningful connections with their children.

“At Horizons we empower fathers by recognizing that their involvement is crucial for their child’s growth and development. We foster that involvement by encouraging fathers to attend activities at Horizons’ Early Education Centers, and interact with other dads,” said Foluke Babalola, a Family Advocate at Horizons.

Recognizing there is often a disparity between the number of mothers and fathers at Horizons, Family Partnerships works diligently to seek out resources geared towards fathers.

“I make it a point to find resources that are solely for fathers because there are fewer and its important they feel included and supported. Sometimes fathers feel as though their role is less important, at Horizons we work to counteract that,” added Foluke.

Chris O., a single father in Horizons’ program spoke about the positive impact Horizons’ Family Partnerships team had on himself and his daughter. Shortly after his daughter was born, Chris found himself experiencing homelessness with an infant.

“I was a young man on my own with an infant, and no one gives you a manual for that,” said Chris. “Horizons and the shelter I was staying at gave me the support and structure I needed to succeed. I consider myself very lucky to have found Horizons when I needed it the most.”

Chris added that the supplies and encouragement he received from Horizons were a huge part of his success.

“Beyond the emotional support I received the supplies and resources were amazing. Diapers, a stroller, formula, it was all critical to my success as a single parent.”

“My Family Advocate was also someone I could rely on. When I felt overwhelmed, or if I just needed someone to talk to – I knew my FA was there,” said Chris.

At Horizons, we take great lengths to treat all parents equally, providing equal levels of support. In order to expand on Horizons’ work with fathers, the Family Partnership program is continuing to establish and expand on partnerships with organizations focused on a father’s parental success.

“One organization we refer dads to is Father’s Uplift. They educate fathers on their rights, share employment opportunities, and provide onsite counseling. It’s a great program because it is solely

focused on dads ,who often get overlooked,” said Nichelle Gomez, a Family Advocate at Horizons.

Ayesha Rodriguez, the Director of Family Partnerships at Horizons, spoke in more depth about Horizons’ plans to partner with father centric organizations.

“We’re working on building partnerships with local organizations that focus heavily on co-parenting best practices. Co-parenting is crucial, and it is something we work on in Family Partnerships, and something we’re excited about expanding upon. These collaborations amplify Horizons’ approach to serve families on a comprehensive level, benefitting mother, father, and child.”

Nelson S., another single father at Horizons, spoke highly of Horizons’ program and the impact it had on himself and his son.

“I have been extremely blessed to have such a good relationship with the caring and supportive team at Horizons. They have helped me during a very difficult time, getting me access to the resources needed to accomplish my goals.”

Nelson with his youngest son.

“Our Family Advocate has bent over backwards and stuck with us through thick & thin during our homelessness,” Nelson continued. “Thank you to the entire Horizons team who run such an amazingly warm sanctuary for my child.”

Horizons is dedicated to the success of all parents we work with, providing support through a number of initiatives and programs. This ranges from physical supplies to emotional support, and Family Advocates work closely with parents to bolster their progress as they work towards moving families out of homelessness.

This piece was written by Rachel San Giacomo, a regular contributor to Horizons’ Blog.