9 images Created 29 Jul 2013
How to be a better father? At Strive, a community-based center in East Harlem, counselors in the “Strong Fathers, Stronger Families” program of intensive workshops help fathers of all ages to answer this question, one of significance for not only the health of individual families but the nation at large. One in three children in America – 24 million – lives without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And research shows that children with absent fathers have poorer outcomes for health, education, productivity and more. For many men who come to Strive, a large part of keeping the bond between father and child strong means finding stable employment, which counselors there help them do. But economic stability is only part of the answer. Using workbooks provided by the National Fatherhood Initiative, staff also lead participants to discuss the life skill aspects of fatherhood: how to build trust, how to discipline, and how to communicate with girlfriends or wives. The workshops also unpack societal definitions—what is a man? what is a father?—making room for each father’s experience. Below are the portraits of some of the men who participated.