Meet Jay Black Jr.
Special from Brothers’ United
Pathway Inc. Brothers United Program has served Toledo Lucas County Ohio for over five years having helped over 2,016 fathers who have more than 5,000 children. Our commitment is to serve fathers in Lucas County with workshops in Fatherhood, Healthy Relationships and Economic Stability. We are doing this through our newest program BU2.0 We also assist with child support – from paternity to arrears and any other barriers fathers may face.
We are hi-lighting Jay Black, Pathway Inc. CEO as an outstanding Father.
“To me, Fatherhood means being a recognized leader in your family and, most important to me at least, is being a positive role model for your children.”
Jay Black is the CEO of Pathways Inc. He has been a strong advocate for the work around Fatherhood since before coming into his new position, but even more so now as he acknowledges and supports the work of Brothers United.
As a father of two sons himself, Mr. Black reflects on why the role of Fatherhood is so important to him.
“I’m a firm believer that children can’t do something if they’ve never been taught. I always took teaching my boys seriously because I couldn’t expect them to know what to do if I never taught them. We spent a lot of time, me and their mom, teaching them what, at the time, we thought were the right things. They’ll tell me from time to time that some of the stuff they were taught stuck with them. And they’re both adults now, but it stuck with them even until today. And I could also say that about my parents and my grandparents. Some of the principles and life values that they taught me way back when still remain with me today, and I in turn taught some of those same values and perspectives to my boys.”
At 23 years old, Mr. Black became a father and his life began to change. At the time, it was a change that challenged him, but today he recognizes it as a change that altered his life for the better.
“I was an adult in age, but a child in experience and outlook. I was ill-prepared to be a father. In fact, I was a kid myself. I went from being a boy to a father in a matter of weeks. My whole perspective changed. It wasn’t about me anymore, it was all about my son and I saw life to be much more serious. Before having him, I was carefree and did what I wanted to do when I wanted to and really didn’t have a serious outlook on life at all. But when he came on the scene, unexpectedly I might add, I was not prepared, so God used him to wake me up and to see the seriousness of life. All of a sudden I had this little boy in my hands that I was ill-prepared to number one, be a father to; number two, be a role model for; and number three, take care of.”
Though becoming a father didn’t come easy to Mr. Black, he soon realized his need to step up and take full-responsibility as a man.
“I made a personal vow to my son and myself because he didn’t ask to be here, but all of a sudden he was. I made a personal vow to get my stuff together and try to be the father that I didn’t have, although I did have a father in the home.”
Mr. Black grew up in a two-parent household, but talked about how he and his father didn’t have a close relationship due to his father being an alcoholic.
“I never wanted to be my father to my kids. I wanted to have a better relationship with my kids than I did with him, and I do. Not that he was a bad guy, but he was never taught how to be a leader, so how could he teach me to lead my family? I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that he loved me, even though the only time he told me he loved me was when he was drinking. But there was no doubt in my mind that he loved me and he protected his family furiously. That’s where I got it from.”
Regardless of his father’s alcoholism, Mr. Black still believed that having him in the home held a positive impact.
“He was a good provider and he was in the home every night, even after a drunken binge. The fact that he was in the house, I wouldn’t do certain things because if I did, I knew that he would come down on me. In a roundabout way, he shaped my positive outlook on Fatherhood because I wanted to be the father to my kids that he wasn’t to me and again, I don’t hold that against him because he never knew his father so he couldn’t teach me how to be a man. But thanks be to God, I was able to teach my boys how to be men, how to be independent and although neither one of them have kids yet, when they do, I’m confident that they’ll be strong leaders in their homes and in their children’s lives.”
After having kids of his own, Mr. Black and his father grew a closer relationship.
“He used to tell me: ‘You don’t understand what I’m telling you today, but when you have your own children, you’ll see it.’ And that turned out to be true.”
Mr. Black’s personal experiences with fatherhood has led him to highly praise the work that Brothers United has done and continues to do for father in the community.
“I am a strong advocate of the Brothers United Program. I recognize the need for it because not everybody had the chance at fatherhood that I did. I never knew any other man in my life but my father. Alot of kids can’t say that. They don’t even know who their father is or they may not have any relationship with their father,” Mr. Black said.
“The father is the cornerstone of the family. When you take the father out of the equation, all sorts of bad things can happen. BU helps put the father back into the equation, and I’m saying that as long as they’re not abusive and they’re trying to do the best they can, that can only yield positive results. I thank God that my father was in my life, even to the extent that he was because I’m convinced that I would have turned out a lot differently had he not been in my life.”
When asked what final words Mr. Black wanted to leave with, he said this:
“I want to issue a challenge to all the young fathers, or even older fathers, going through the Brothers United program. One of the goals that I set for myself in terms of being a father to my children is this: kids didn’t have a say so of being here first of all, and second of all they didn’t have a say so in who their parents are. So I always had a goal that if my boys had the choice to pick their parents, they would pick me. And I’m happy to say that if you asked them if they had the opportunity to choose from all the fathers that were available would they pick me, and they’d tell you, ‘Yeah, I’d pick my dad because he’s a standup guy and he’s always been there for us. Even though we don’t agree with what he says all the time, at least we know he has our best interests at heart in every case and all the time.’”
For more information on BU2.0 please call (419) 279-0798.