For a lot of men, being a father can be a daunting task. Some are unemployed. Many have poor relationships with the mother of their children. In the worst of circumstances, some are even in prison. But Steven Dandridge and his Detroit-based group, New Young Fathers, is working to help men learn how to be better men to their children–regardless of how rough their circumstances are.
“If you want to be a father, this is what it entails,” Dandridge told Fox 2 News Detroit. “You always have to be able to take care of your children, so you have to find employment. In order to do that, you have to be qualified for something. In order to do that, you also need to be able to get along with the mother of your children, whether you’re with her or not. You have to work together. You have to be on one accord when it comes to raising children.”
Being part of a family in which both parents are not together does not help. According to the U.S. Census, one out of three children live without a father at home. These children are at a high risk of ending up behind bars and abusing drugs and alcohol. “A lot of children I come across, they come from single-parent homes and they don’t have a relationship with their father,” Dandridge said. “And that’s horrible because they didn’t ask to be here.”
Since the group’s site was launched in 2008, it has helped thousands of fathers across the state with advice on how to form better relationships with their children. The group helps organize field trips that helps fathers form loving relationships with their sons and daughters; it also leads conversations at local churches and schools.
Any way Dandridge can reach out to dads and help them to be better men to their children, he is willing to do it. More importantly, he wants take the fear out of fatherhood. “It’s a wonderful thing to be a father,” he said before imploring all of the fathers out there to rise to the challenge. “Please step up to the plate and be responsible because [your children] are counting on you. They are counting on us every single day.”