Forestdale held its annual Stepping Up Ceremony last weekend that included a barbecue and graduation for members of its 24/7 Dad parenting course.
A total 70 fathers graduated from the course, which is one of the oldest programs of its type in the city.
24/7 Dad provides parenting education, career development, co-parenting counseling and an alumni network to more than 250 fathers from Queens every year.
“A mother will spend her entire life preparing the world for her child,” said Jomael Young, of Fathers First, who spoke during the ceremony. “A father will spend his entire life preparing his child for the world.”
The 12-week parenting and job training course is meant to prepare low income, noncustodial fathers to reclaim a role in their children’s lives.
Thabiti Boone, a fatherhood advisor to the Allan Houston Foundation and a guest speaker during the Sept. 28 ceremony, talked about his experiences as a single teen father.
“The most important thing for me at 19 was taking care of my daughter,” he said. “I hung in there and stayed with it as a father and have been blessed ever since.”
Photos are courtesy of Forestdale, which is a Forest Hills-based family services agency that provides fundamental assets to borough youth to ensure they have access to literacy, health, education and career opportunities.