Enrollment is Still Open

Houston- 03/06/2017

AVANCE-Houston successfully kicked-off this year’s Fatherhood Program with a total of 53 fathers and their children. This program, designed to help fathers and/or father figures develop simple integrated approaches while promoting active fatherhood has been offered by AVANCE-Houston since 1990.

The program helps fathers learn that they are an integral part of their children’s development; furthermore, it teaches them that their active participation and emotional engagement with their children leads to improved social, emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes. Topics covered include: nurturing and bonding with the child, conflict resolution, listening and communicating effectively, among others.  Additionally, parents receive career readiness, financial and workforce stability training.

During this, eight-week course fathers like Rodolfo Becerra, 50, and Darwin Alfaro, 32, acquire tools to strengthen family bonds and they also benefit from an array of  important resources that help them and their families become more self-sufficient.

Becerra originally from Mexico City became the head of household at the early age of nine, right after he saw his father for the last time. Becerra had a rough start in life as he witnessed many times how his mother was a victim of domestic violence.

When he became a father, he was determined not to follow his dad’s footsteps as he wanted to be part of his six children’s life. Becerra feels the need to learn how to communicate better with his wife and younger children; reason which led him to enroll in the Fatherhood program.

“I have found the workshops very interesting, and the facilitators inspire me to become the best husband and father I can be,” he says.

Becerra’s classmate, Darwin Alfaro shares a similar story. He is originally from El Salvador and the father of two young boys. He was also exposed to domestic violence at a young age and suffered the abandonment from both parents, who opted to part ways separately.  This led him to experience low self-esteem and depression, which affected him throughout his life. This feeling increased after separating from his first wife with whom, he conceived his firstborn.

When I divorced, I did not want my son to feel abandoned, as I once did, and I did everything possible to remain active in his life.”  Alfaro now has custody of his first son, and he remarried and has a second child. He has overcome his depression and is determined to be an exemplary father to his two children.

“I want my children to always feel that I love them. I want them to run to me when I come home from work […] the way I would have wanted my father to do with me.   This is the reason why I’m taking the Fatherhoood workshops,” he explains. “I want to be the best dad for my children and through this program, I hope to achieve that.” Alfaro says.

The AVANCE Fatherhood program is currently offered at three locations in Northwest Houston.  Participants meet once a week for a total of eight weeks.  Fathers have an opportunity to relate with other dads while their children learn and interact with other kids in separate classrooms.

Fatherhood Program Coordinator, Alexia Moore said that currently enrolled participants have unique stories that brought them to AVANCE. “This type of program is the best way to engage dads and is also constructive for the children. We believe that no matter what your race or background is, our Fatherhood program offers hope, help, and change to Fathers and their families,” she says.

Registration for the Fatherhood Program is ongoing. Please contact Alexia Moore at amoore@avancehouston.org for more information.

About AVANCE: AVANCE is a United Way agency serving over 8,000 parents and children in 20 Houston locations.

AVANCE offers: Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP), Head Start, Early Head Start, Healthy Marriage, Fatherhood, ESL, Workforce, Health and Wellness, and College Readiness services.

AVANCE mission: Unlocking America’s potential by strengthening families in at-risk communities through effective parenting education and support programs.

AVANCE motto: Parents are the first teachers, Home is the first classroom.