Workshop teaches Joliet-area dads how to be their best
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News May 23, 2012 1:56PM
Jorge and Viridiana Guerrero of Joliet, parents of a child at St. John Head Start Center in Joliet listen to one of the speakers at the May 19th fatherhood training conference. The conference was sponsored by Catholic Charities Diocese of Joleit Early Childhood Services Division. SUBMITTED PHOTO
12 Tips on Being a Great Father
Put their interests first, always.
Spend your spare time with them.
Give them hugs.
Play with them.
Do the “Mom” stuff.
Read to them.
Stand by Mom.
Teach them self-esteem.
Teach them about finances.
Be good to yourself.
Be good to the Mom.
Source: Catholic Charities Early Childhood Services Division Fatherhood Training Conference
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:24AM
JOLIET — Ask Jorge Guerrero what it means to be a good father to his 4-year-old daughter and he will tell you good communication and dedicated participation.
So although Guerrero volunteers at her school through Catholic Charities Diocese of Joliet’s Head Start program and serves as president of its policy council, he is always seeking ways to be a better parent.
That’s why Guerrero, along with 100 other fathers, attended the program’s Fatherhood Training Conference on May 19 at the Holiday Inn Joliet Banquet and Conference Center.
“Now that I’m in charge of a life, it’s not just about me anymore,” Guerrero said. “My job is to make sure she grows up, but I might not have all the tools to do a good job.”
The conference offered several workshops: Resume Building with Paige Vanderhyden, director of Joliet Junior College’s workforce development; Live in the Present, Make a Difference and Set a Good Example with Alfredo Melesio, director of neighborhood services for Joliet; Healthy Relationships with Deloris Walker, independent health educator; and Educating Yourself to be a Better Family Provider and Healthy Relationships with Michael Harbert, professional education manager for Rasmussen College.
“We’re showing fathers how to build on their experiences to develop better relationships with their children and their children’s mother, to create a resume and to educate themselves to become better family providers,” said Ericka Williams, conference coordinator.
Keynote speakers were R. Dale Evans, family self-sufficiency coordinator for the Housing Authority of Joliet, and Melesio. Even Glenn Van Cura, Catholic Charities’ executive director, shared some of his fathering experiences with his own two sons.
All fathers, Van Cura said, need to be present to their children, set a good example and have access to employment that provides for their families. Each fathering conference, he added, helps strengthen men in those areas, which produces good results for the children.
“Many of our children come from single-parent homes headed by mothers,” said Judy Easley, manger of family and community partnerships at Catholic Charities Diocese of Joliet Early Childhood Services Division. “Over the years, we’ve seen more fathers become active at our centers and with our policy council.”
Often, men become frustrated by the financial commitment it takes to raise children. Yet, it’s not the amount of money fathers spend that matters most to a child, but the quality of time he reserves for him, in or out of school.
“That’s why our table favors are sidewalk chalk, bubbles and jump ropes,” Williams said. “Fathers don’t have to take their kids to Great America. They can go for a walk or play at a park.”
Shamill Muhammad of Joliet, father of four children ages 7, 5, 3 and 1, has attended several Head Start fathering conferences, but he always learns something new.
“Today I learned that, even though I’m self-employed,” Muhammad said, “I need to keep my resume updated and be aware of other employment options so I am always prepared for the job market.”