Every morning, I wake up next to my husband of nearly five years.
Just down the hallway, my two boys – ages 4 and 2 – lay in their bunk beds pretending to be sleep. I can hear their whispers as I reach to turn off my alarm clock. On some mornings, it is easy to get comfortable and wrapped up in my Huxtable life.
And I know I am not alone.
It is easy to get lost in the flowers and in the privilege of being married to a good man who is also a good father. But for millions of children in America, this is a comfort they have been robbed of. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), 24 million youth in America are growing up without a father.
It is worth noting that it is not always a good idea for a child to be with their father, especially in situations where domestic violence and other forms of abuse are present. But we cannot deny the effects of fatherlessness. In the United States, fatherless youth are on the wrong side of every statistic.
Seventy-one percent of teen parents are from fatherless homes, according to the NFI. Ninety percent of all homeless and runaway children are also from fatherless homes, NFI’s website went on to say. And if that was not enough, 71 percent of all high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.
“What’s worse is we’ve become numb to the statistics,” President Barack Obama said during the Feb. 27 launch of My Brother’s Keeper – his new initiative to provide more opportunities for boys of color, many of whom come from fatherless homes.
I hope the President was not right. I hope we have not become numb to the statistics. I hope that our problem is that we are unsure of how to help. If that is the problem; if that is the reason why many of us are still sitting on the porch, then I hope you will join in with The Truth Heals – a new local nonprofit advocacy group I recently formed.
The Truth Heals serves women and youth affected by fatherlessness to find hope and healing. We offer workshops for women and youth, parent mentoring and financial aid for single mothers and other programs that will stand in the gap for women and fatherless youth while equipping them with the skills and resources to reach their full potential.
We cannot do this alone. If we truly want to alter history and the statistics, it will take a community to join together for this cause. We will host our first six-week workshop for middle and high school age girls this spring at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
We still need volunteers to help process paperwork and facilitate workshops. We still need supplies for our first workshop, including writing utensils and the reading and workbook materials. We still need money to help us sustain our program and serve the overwhelming number of individuals and families who have reached out to us.
We have to get out of our beds, out of our homes and out of our Huxtable life. It’s time to wake up. And it is time to respond to the statistics.
For more information or to see how you can help, click here.
Tunette Powell is a working mom with two children.
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