Dads@Communities – Active fatherhood in the neighbourhood
Dads@Communities launched last Saturday. It’s a new initiative to literally push the message of active fatherhood home. Find out more about this cause here.
Mark van Cuylenberg (a.k.a. The Flying Dutchman of Class 95 fame) shared this in reflecting on the wishes children have of their fathers:
“Sometimes we do things that we don’t realise that our children pick up on… I used to be guilty of that. I would sit at the dining table, I would read the newspaper. My family would be around me. I wouldn’t talk. What’s the point of everybody sitting around the dining table if you don’t communicate?”
In response, Bervyn Lee, member of the Fathers Action Network, shares the sentiment:
“Every time I come to one of these sessions and I either watch a video or I hear a song being sung, I can’t help but feel that there is this thing inside of me that says, ‘Okay, Bervyn. Wake up. You know these things, but you’re still not doing them.’ So if, FD, you were previously guilty of what you did, I am still (guilty), and I am still going through all that.”
They were both speaking at the Dads@Communities launch event held last Saturday. Dads@Communities is a new initiative by the Dads for Life movement and the Fathers Action Network to engage community and grassroots leaders, self-help groups, social service agencies and religious organisations, to literally push the message of active fatherhood home, by promoting their cause where dads live – in their own neighbourhood.
Dads@Communities hopes to bring dads together in a community setting, through community groups such as residents committees, social service agencies, and even temples, churches and mosques. Previous initiatives to push the same aim include Fathers@School, which engages fathers in their children’s education and schools, and Dads@Workplaces, which seeks to bring family sensitivities into the workplace on behalf of fathers.
The Dads@Communities launch event also presented four of such community groups, that have each started their own initiatives that can potentially engage fathers. For example, the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) has started organising events targeted specifically at dads in the Indian community, like their Father-Child Bonding Experiential Camp in May this year. Family Life Champion (FLC) vice-chairman Randy Sng even presented a Men’s Cooking Interest Group based in Braddell Heights, which has been around since 2008 and boasts a current strength of more than 100 registered members.
Dads@Communities seeks to support greater engagement with dads, to plug a gap between the importance society places on fatherhood and the lack of actual involvement and capabilities from fathers themselves, as presented in local research findings. The initiative also wants to partner community leaders in influencing public perception that fathers do matter.
As the Dads for Life movement develops its Dads@Communities programmes through its partners, look out for more father-specific activities happening at your local community residents committee, community development council, or from the Dads for Life Secretariat themselves. You can lead the charge for active fatherhood as well; Dads for Life is looking for passionate supporters of the cause to train as “father-facilitators” to conduct workshops to make dads better dads.
Get active now!
If you’re keen to support Dads@Communities or want to know more about the initiative, you can contact the Dads for Life Secretariat at Tel: 6354 7060 or email: Dads_for_life@mcys.gov.sg
*Article by Winston Tay