My Dad Matters in Regent Park

IMG_0907It was a momentous occasion – Oct 17, 2014 – the first community training offered based on the new My Dad Matters father engagement toolkit.  Regent Park has been on our radar for a while now as a place where we have wanted to bring fathering support to the community.  It was a privilege to meet with 35 leaders in the community who see the need for reaching out to and engaging fathers.  The day was filled with good conversation, focused assessment of present work, and the development of an action plan for the community.  People were able to learn about what others are already doing in the community, some best practice ideas, some ideas for training and staff development, and how to approach becoming more father-friendly.

Here are some ideas people left the training with:

A greater sense of the need to reach fathers and some tools I can use right away.

There is much work we all need to do!IMG_0903

We need to network together and also go to where the fathers are in our community.

I have new things I can do to help fathers feel comfortable in my agency.

I can’t wait to start implementing and networking with other organizations to improve our father involvement.

Different perspectives from males and females on the importance of dad’s involvement.

A better understanding of factors that can inhibit or prevent father involvement in parenting.

Engaging men is critical in effective family programming.

A coordinated way to develop a fathering strategy within my organization.

And we are not done yet!

Timmins, Ottawa, Niagara, and the Lower Mainland of BC are coming next.  There are also plans to bring the toolkit to the Maritime provinces.  And . . . if you want to be a leader in your community, be watching for a train-the-trainer workshop coming in June 2015.

If you are interested in having some community development training in your area, please let us know.

My Dad Matters – Engaging Men Raising the Next Generation

Inspiration and Affirmation

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Engaged fathers sometimes struggle to see themselves reflected in popular culture. At the same time, fathers who are struggling to engage with their kids don’t often see positive role-modeling or inspiration around them.

With that in mind we wanted to share this beautiful collection of dads displaying the joy and connection that engaged fatherhood brings to our lives.

And for daily reminders of dads rocking it check out the Daddy Doing Work instagram feed.

Enjoy!

Alex Nayanookeesic and a Young Dad’s Carousel of Life

Alex was able to work most of the summer on a bridge construction crew by the Gravel River in Northwestern Ontario. Most of the pounding manual work was behind the handles of a jackhammer. Occasionally there was a requirement for him to log some time on the wheeled front end loader which proved to be valuable heavy duty equipment experience. Unfortunately, last week he received his lay-off notice so will rely on Canada’s Employment Insurance or EI to tide things over until the next employment opportunity arises. He will enjoy his down time looking after the three children as his wife Laura is starting part-time work as a cashier at the local Nipigon Husky gas station.

Great news! Alex and Laura have bought a house and have been able to move from their old at-risk neighbourhood. They purchased a home just two blocks away from her parents. Like Laura said, “I have saved for 10 years to do this!” It is a small three bedroom abode which requires some repairs. With a limited budget and help from family, they have replaced some siding, painted, and cleaned inside top to bottom.

Other terrific news is on the horizon and scheduled for February, 2015. Laura is expecting child number four! (And I thought breastfeeding was supposed to delay pregnancy…) AJ will have some stiff completion for attention when the new baby arrives. It is incredible how the circle of life just continues.

Speaking of AJ, the little fellow has taken his first steps at 13 months of age. He was initially hesitant to crawl but now will be using those big leg muscles to go places. Alex loves to hold his hand and walk with him.

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We were down at the marina fishing from the deserted black CN rail bridge. AJ was sitting in his stroller and pointing to all the seagulls flying overhead in the deep blue sky. Angelina showed her prowess at casting her fishing line while

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Justice ran over to Clearwater Creek which flows into the marina area and announced that there were lake trout to be seen… and he caught one! He was so proud to show his dad!

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School days are here and the autumn colours and cooler weather will prevail. Being without work “sucks” as Alex would say, but the upside is that he may have time to repair and renovate their new house and home. The financial budget is tight but they are thriving and surviving. There is more to life than the pursuit of money, as this young family is testament to.

To read about Alex’s journey as a father check out previous blog posts.

Canada’s first National Fatherhood Conference! Call for Proposals.

Proposals are presently being received for the Canadian Fatherhood National Conference in Hamilton, ON Tuesday, March 10, 2015.

This event will be held in conjunction with the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs (FRP Canada) and will call together program workers, clinicians, practitioners, managers, and researchers from across Canada to present and share their work with fathers. It will connect people by creating much-needed networking around engaging fathers in programs and communities. It will inform people by focusing on practical and researched-based father involvement information. It will mobilize people through ideas and the momentum of conversations about fatherhood.

Proposals can be to:

  • offer a workshop focused on issues and/or strategies for working with fathers.
  • display a father-friendly program, interventions, research findings,
    or innovative promotional materials/strategies.

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The Canadian Fatherhood National Conference is for anyone interested in engaging fathers in their community with services, programs or resources. The goal is to help participants provide fathers with the knowledge and support needed around the healthy development of their children.

A WEEKEND AWAY FOR DADS THAT HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN


 

We are a group of dads with children that have special needs. We get together once a year for a getaway

weekend at Easter Seals Camp Woodeden in London On. This year Dads Camp will be on September

19th to 21st 2014. We are always looking for more dads to join us for a great time. The weekend is for

dads only (sorry no kids). The cost for the weekend is 50 dollars, this covers food and other costs. We

look after all own cooking and cleaning.

Friday night is an informal greeting to rehash old friendship and make new ones with first timers. This is

a great time for sharing information with peers. Saturday after breakfast we have the day to do as we

please; some go golfing, fishing, bike riding or grab that book that you have not had time to read and

find a quiet place to relax. Saturday Evening we prepare a nice meal. Saturday Night we have a camp fire

at the fire pit and/or movies in the rec. hall. Sunday Morning after breakfast we do a cleanup and then

we slowly depart.

To print the Dads Camp flyer download it here: DADS CAMP FLYER

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The New Dad Manual – A source of limitless insight and information

The New Dad Manual is developed by fathers for fathers. Being a new dad can be overwhelming, confusing, intimidating, tiring, but also amazing and really exciting. The site answers your basic questions about babies, new moms and new dads.

There’s also information on everything from diaper changes, comforting babies, sleep, car seats, changes to relationships between fathers and their partners to fun things to do with infants and differences in parenting styles.

With dozens of videos, personal stories and advice from parents and professionals this is a great site to share with any new dads or dads to be. You can also order printed copies of the manual.

See more at New Dad Manual

Does Fatherhood Make Your Brain Bigger?

Until recently nearly all human research on the neural effects of parenting has been focused on mothers. But a new paper published by researchers at the University of Denver and Yale are changing that.

daddy-brainBy scanning the brains of dads in the first two weeks of infancy and then again 12 to 16 weeks later a comparison was made. Amazingly, the second scan showed that fathers gained grey matter volume in a number of areas.

What do all these brain volume increases mean? It’s hard to know, but the researchers implicates many of these neural regions as important for attachment and nurturing behaviors. The changes may also reflect the new and powerful importance of babies to their fathers. But which comes first – the importance or the brain changes?

The new research also uncovered several brain regions that appeared to shrink in early fatherhood. The regions displaying reduced grey matter volume are parts of the brain that tends to become collectively more active as we switch off from the outside world. The researchers speculated that the shrinking of these brain regions could reflect a “shift of resources” away from the external issues, in line with fathers’ new vigilance for their precious offspring.

I think most fathers know that they are changed by becoming dads but it can be helpful to have scientific evidence that, indeed, we are significantly affected by our transition into parenthood.

 

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