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Responsible fatherhood event held at Kids America

| June 20, 2017
Marlie and Melanie Grant, daughters of Cie and Brandi Grant, carefully choose a cupcake and the frosting to decorate it with at the Responsible Fatherhood Event held at Kids America on June 17.

Marlie and Melanie Grant, daughters of Cie and Brandi Grant, carefully choose a cupcake and the frosting to decorate it with at the Responsible Fatherhood Event held at Kids America on June 17.

COSHOCTON – It is a sad, scary fact. Nationwide, more than 24 million children live in homes with no father. While many of these children have an active father who lives in another home, there are too many who have no positive male role models in their lives. Unfortunately, the cycle tends to repeat itself through generations.

Coshocton County Fatherhood Initiative began in 2004. Their mission is to help strengthen the family unit by teaching fathers how to be part of their child’s life and reminding them that they are an essential piece. William Johnson is the co-chair of CCFI. He said when the program started they focused on breakfast programs in schools. CCFI would prepare breakfast for the fathers and their children. They would eat together and usually have a speaker.

“We chose June to have our event because June in national Responsible Father Month,” said Johnson. “We wanted to have all kinds of information available for our fathers, so we asked several vendors to be part of it.”

Vendors included insurance companies, health and nutrition and fun. “Proper nutrition is so important to children and we wanted people here to answer any questions fathers may have,” said Johnson.

Johnson said CCFI is for the whole family, not just for fathers. “We emphasize the father’s involvement to help the whole family. Dads come to us in three ways, either on their own, through Children’s Services or through the court system. We offer workshops for dads that can teach anything from how to change a diaper to building a relationship with a teenager.”

A workshop for mothers is also available that shares the same information as what fathers receive in 24/7 Dads to help parents work together for their children.

The Responsible Fatherhood Event included many activities for the entire family and it was all free. Along with the local vendors, Coshocton County Head Start was available to answer questions about school enrollment and Coshocton County Deputy Steve Mox brought 2 year old Chili, the county’s newest K- 9. Chili will be in training until the end of August then he will be working the area with Mox. Chili was a big hit for the children and was excited to show off his toy.

The National Guard brought their huge inflatable obstacle course, archery was available, along with face painting, sidewalk chalk and games for the kids.  McFarland’s Martial Arts held demonstrations in self-defense. Lunch was provided and the speaker was Cie Grant, from the Pittsburgh area.

Grant said he got involved in the Fatherhood Initiative a few years ago as a speaker. “My number one job is my wife and kids. I want to share with other dads how important it is that they are part of their children’s lives.” Grant said he knows the national statistics about children growing up without positive male role models and hopes to help change that.

“Being a dad is the most amazing, wonderful experience I have ever had,” said Grant. “My kids teach me something every day. I’m excited to see what they learn each day. I never know what my lesson for the day will be. I want to tell other dads that if you are not an active part of your child’s life, you are not only cheating your child, you are cheating yourself.” Grant said his children are his motivation each day to go to work and provide for them.

“One thing my wife and I work to teach our children is that if you want something, you have to work for it. I want them to see me working to support them. I have a vision for each of my children and it’s my responsibility to teach them ways to reach for their dreams, even if their vision isn’t the same as mine.” Grant also said that every father needs to get to know their child and learn how to build trust with that child, so that when they are adults, they can be a light for someone else.

“God blessed me with the opportunity to raise these beautiful children. I have a responsibility to do what needs to be done so they can continue to help others. Eighteen years is not a lot of time to have and I tell dads not to waste a minute of it.” Grant uses his own experiences as a father to encourage absentee dads to reach out to their children.

John and Deb Strasser were volunteers at the event. They are advisors to the county’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and wanted to help with what they feel is a very important event in the area. “We strongly believe in what William Johnson and the Fatherhood Initiative are accomplishing and wanted to help,” said Deb. She was working the prize table while John networked and spread the word that the FCA is looking for women to be advisors or chaplains.

The next event for CCFI will be a pool party at Lake Park Aquatic Center on June 21, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. The $1 fee includes swimming, hot dog, popcorn and water. Anyone who would like more information about the CCFI can call Johnson at 740-622-6208.

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Category: Clubs & Organizations

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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