Lucas County Fatherhood Coalition’s Fatherhood Week

Avis Files describes the Fatherhood Week’s activities

The Truth Staff

“Black fathers in this community are challenged; they are not absent, but they are challenged,” said Avis Files, chair of the Lucas County Fatherhood Coalition, during a press conference on Monday to announce the  opening of Fatherhood Week, a series of events that will run from Monday, June 10 to Saturday, June 15.

Files, director of Family and Supportive Services for Pathway, Inc, helped found the Fatherhood Coalition 10 years ago and, along with Co-Chair David Kontur, director of the Lucas County Family Council, has assembled a coalition of numerous agencies to support the goal of easing those challenges to fatherhood, especially those impeding the progress of low-income and minority fathers.

Along with Pathway, Inc. and the Lucas County Family Council, some of the other participating agencies or groups include: Mom’s House, Lucas Metropolitan Housing, Lucas County Children Services, Harbor, Bethany House, Ohio Means Jobs, First Church of God, among others, and, critically, the Lucas County Commissioners who provide much of the funding to support the Coalition’s activities.

Lucas County Commissioners Pete Gerken and Lisa Sobecki

“The role of a father has gotten much harder as society has gotten more complex,” said Commissioner Pete Gerken during the press conference. “This is a shared and learned experience … [we are] suffering from the over incarceration of Black men in our community.”

Commissioner Lisa Sobecki noted that the Coalition has “helped over 8,000 fathers in our community” while adding that the county “has the resources that you need.”

Commissioner Anita Lopez also spoke of the high rates of incarceration impacting the local community and the relief that the County and the Coalition can provide. “When we promote fatherhood and its importance, it impacts a child’s life each and every day.”

The week’s Fatherhood Week includes: Monday – a conversation with Lucas County Child Support and Ohio Means Jobs; Tuesday – a FaceBook presentation on physical and mental health; Wednesday – Show Fathers Love Sign Day and a discussion of violence at Mott Branch library from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; Thursday – Fatherhood Conference at Mott Branch by the Urban Fathers Voice from noon to 3:30 pm; Friday – FATHERS and Families Day at Port Lawrence Housing Development; Saturday – the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Juneteenth Community Health and Wellness Fair at MLK Academy for Boys