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Experiences gained, lessons learned: A BRFP Perspective
Imagine coming home from prison only a couple of months ago. Obtaining a source of income is a priority for most dads when returning home. Not to forsake your child support obligations, your arrears never ceased to accumulate during your time of incarceration, placing you into debt before you even step foot back into society. Reconnecting with your children is another priority, but this can be a cumbersome task depending on the relationship you have with your children’s mother.  Continue to imagine that the only examples you’ve been provided in life on how to be a responsible father has been your mother, grandparents, television and the other males in your community (may or may not be a positive influence). This is the plight of many dads who walk through the doors of CFUF seeking guidance and fatherhood services.

In December 2013, CFUF’s Baltimore Responsible Fatherhood Project hosted its annual BRFP Graduation.  This end of year event honors all the fathers who have completed the four month long program throughout the entire year. A number of our graduates can identify with each other’s experiences which creates a bond, a brotherhood so to speak. Through the course of four months during our weekly, evening groups, a lot of sensitive and valuable information and life experiences are shared with one another.

Traditionally, BRFP graduations have hosted a key note speaker who normally is a politician, community leader and/or scholar to share some great words of wisdom and encouragement to our graduating fathers.  That was not the case this time, which made this most recent graduation very special! A series of keynote speeches were scheduled this time…all coming from past and present BRFP alumnus. Six speakers (Joseph Jones, Bermond Few, Robert Wheeler, Marcus Dixon, Thomas Rogers and Samuel Wallace) in total shared some very powerful, comical yet emotional messages to the graduates. Being recently incarcerated prior to enrolling in BRFP and understanding how to best re-engage with their children, learning that being a father is about being present emotionally and physically and not just financially, communicating more effectively to their children’s mother and persevering through all obstacles to be the best father they know how were just a fraction of some the take home messages provided by the keynote speakers. It was well received by all in attendance from the graduates, staff and community partners! The 2013 BRFP graduation was a night to remember!
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COMMENTS
Rev. Marsha Lee-Watson MARCH 2 2014
It does my heart good to know that our Black men have not been forsaken, thank God. These man can now use their learning resources to invest in their children, which will strengthen the Black Family. I'm praying for a mobile unit that can reach out in other States to assist our men. Peace & Blessings
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