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Blog Home > How a "Deadbeat Dad" Became an Inspiration to Fathers Everywhere
How a "Deadbeat Dad" Became an Inspiration to Fathers Everywhere
Excerpt from The Huffington Post]

Question to all you dads out there who are about to celebrate Father's Day: When was the first time you felt like a real father? Was it something that happened gradually or did the reality of it hit you in one concentrated moment? For Joe Jones, a former drug addict from inner city Baltimore who was largely absent from his son's early life, the answer to this question is laden with emotion -- both profound regret and infinite promise. It's a moment that helped alter the pathway of Joe's life, turning a once "deadbeat" dad into a national crusader for responsible fatherhood and healthy families.

Joe will tell you that the odds of escaping an $800-a-day drug addicted lifestyle were slim. Lacking the benefit of a responsible support group and having no concept of the "future," he channeled his intellect, energy and gumption on "the here and now," finding the next high, and avoiding the painful reality that he would probably end up in jail or dead. "... That Michael Jordan drive to excellence is something that I always believe I possessed, it was just that I wasn't utilizing it in a way that was conducive to helping me or my community."

The motivation to clean up his act was triggered in a courtroom, when Joe was forced to hear a prosecutor detail Joe's life to the judge: "... I had never heard anyone speak about 'Joe Jones' in that way. And that night, when I went back to my jail cell, and I thought about the way this person described me ... I was personally embarrassed and I knew that I could do better." In that moment of honest introspection, Joe re-channeled his talents and summoned the courage to claw his way back from the brink. In the process, a life of escapism slowly morphed into a life filled with meaning and purpose.

Joe has closed the book on those dark chapters of his life, but the experiences have forever shaped the man -- and the father -- that he is today. As the Founder, President & CEO of Baltimore City's highly impactful Center for Urban Families (CFUF), Joe and his team "strengthen urban communities by helping fathers and families achieve stability and economic success." Joe's bio reads: "His ability to engage and provide hands-on services to fathers has garnered him a reputation of trailblazer in the field. Mr. Jones is a national leader in workforce development, fatherhood and family services programming, and through his professional and civic involvement [he's an advisor on President Obama's Task Force on Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families] influences policy direction nationwide."

Read the rest of the story here »
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