As many of you know, Baby Buggy created its Fatherhood Initiativein 2010 to help fathers become more engaged in their children’s lives. Thanks to donors like you and the folks at Global Giving, Baby Buggy has now donated 326,341 items through 16 different programs to over 20,000 dads and their children in both New York and Los Angeles.
Yesterday we held the Inaugural Fatherhood Initiative Lunch to celebrate the program and to get dads of all backgrounds invested in our work. Over 100 dads came out to show their support for the initiative including notable fathers Dan Abrams, Nigel Barker, Mark Consuelos, Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman, Woody Johnson, Jim Jones, and Michael Strahan. We owe special thanks to Jerry Seinfeld for hosting the event and for his leadership support of the Fatherhood Initiative since its inception. We also owe big thanks to Bruce Bozzi and The Palm for hosting and covering all costs for the lunch, In addition, Acura, Gucci, and Johnson & Johnson for their generous support of the Initiative.
The event raised more than $217k; our goal for the program is $225k. We hope that you will help us close that gap in the following ways:
*Consider an additional gift to the program
*Direct your friends, colleagues and family to this site to learn more about the program
*If you are on Twitter, pls Tweet: Be #Dadicated like me + support the @LoveRecycled #BBFatherhoodInitative via: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/baby-supplies-in-support-of-fathering-initiatives/
Many thanks for your continued support. You know now you are in great company! We are very lucky to have you in the Baby Buggy family.
Did you know that today is “Dads Take Their Child to School” Day? Baby Buggy has been investing in high-quality fatherhood programs since 2010 because we know just how important father involvement is for children…particularly when it comes to education. In fact, research shows that when dads are more actively involved in a child’s education, they show sizable improvements in their academic performance and stay in school longer. Dads (and other male caregivers) in our partner programs are proudly taking their children to Early Head Start programs, Head Start programs, and primary schools all over New York today. And, they are bringing the backpacks, school supplies, books, educational toys, and clothing they received from Baby Buggy! Together, we are sending a very clear message that both moms AND dads care about their children’s education--we know that education is the best way to help break the cycle of poverty facing so many of the families we serve.
Jerome, a single father who participates in Baby Buggy’s Bronx Fatherhood program, will be taking his two sons to school today…just as he does every other school day. The mother of his children struggles with serious substance abuse issues and was not capable of caring for her children, which is how Jerome gained full custody of his children. He works all night as a security guard, but stays up to take his boys to school each morning. He also cooks them dinner each night and picks them up from school before he leaves for work again in the evening. Jerome is able to get some help from his family to watch the boys after he leaves for work, but he is really raising the boys entirely on his own.
This is where the Baby Buggy and the Bronx Fatherhood program have come in to help make his efforts as a dad just a little bit easier. Through group meetings with other dads, Jerome can share his challenges and joys as a single dad while receiving advice and encouragement from peers and parenting experts. He has also received clothes, toys, books, and other school supplies for his children from Baby Buggy, which has helped enormously, as his salary as a security guard really only allows him to cover the very basics for his boys. With Baby Buggy’s support, he has saved enough money to open a small savings account for his boys. Jerome also said that the donations of school supplies and backpacks help him show his children just how much he values their education, “I want my boys to take school very seriously and to achieve much more than I have in my life.” We think Jerome has already achieved quite a lot--as an incredible father to his two sons!
Here at Baby Buggy, we don't just celebrate dads on Father's Day, we work with exceptional fatherhood programs across the country to let fathers know that they are valued every day. Through our partnerships with high-quality fatherhood initaitives, Baby Buggy encourages fathers from all walks of life to engage more fully with their children.
We kicked off "Father's Month" last week by bringing together a group of leaders from four of the fatherhood programs we partner with in Los Angeles and New York. We began with a tour of our jam-packed warehouse while the rest of our team was preparing for our annual Bedtime Bash carnvial fundraiser in Central Park. The leaders of the fatherhood programs enjoyed seeing firsthand how donated items like baby clothes are sorted, screened, and bundled in preparation for distribution to the dads and children we serve. As we walked by a tall tower of infant bathtubs, one of our partners shared a story of how a bathtub helped one of the dads in his program spend more time with his daughter. This father did not have primary custody of his baby daughter, but after receiving a bathtub and some bath toys from Baby Buggy, his daughter couldn't wait to come to his place, where she can now safely take bubble baths and spend quality time with daddy.
Following our warehouse tour, we dove into a lively discussion covering both the opportunities and challenges that come with working in the fatherhood arena. The program leaders shared how difficult it can be to convince the general public, supporters, and even the dads in their own programs, that the stereotype of the "deadbeat dad" is rarely accurate. So many of the dads in these programs never had dads in their own lives, so everyone is working to break this painful cycle. Everyone agreed that if we really want to improve the lives of low-income children in meaningful ways, fathers must be part of the equation. Together, we will continue to provide these fathers with the tools they need to keep their children happy and healthy.
After a day of "talking shop," we celebrated together at our annual Bedtime Bash carnival the next day. Over 100 low-income children and fathers--from our Bronx Fatherhood program, the Forestdale Fathering Initiative in Queens, and the Father's First program in Far Rockaway--joined the festivities. The families enjoyed a fun summer evening, eating hot dogs and popsicles, riding carnival rides, and making memories. Ronnie, one of the fathers from the Forestdale program, brought his adorable three-month-old daughter Lily in an infant carrier provided by Baby Buggy. Ronnie shared that "being a father means everything to me," and he strolled through the carnival grounds proudly showing off his baby girl. He said that Baby Buggy makes him feel supported as a new father and that the workshops and counseling provided through the Forestdale Fathering Initiative have made him a better father and a better man. It was clear to us from talking with Ronnie that little Lily is one lucky lady! Another highlight of the event was when some of the dads from our programs were able to meet and talk fatherhood with Jerry Seinfeld, a key supporter of our Fatherhood Initiative, and George Stephanopoulos, a long-time donor to Baby Buggy. We are proud to have so many incredible dads in our corner and we thank you for your support of our work. Happy Father's Day!
In addition to providing essential items like car seats, cribs, diapers, and wipes that fathers need to care for their children, Baby Buggy often works with various partners to provide unique opportunities for dads and children to bond, learn, and have fun. Thanks to some generous supporters, we were able to invite a bunch of families from our fatherhood programs to go see the new blockbuster Lego Movie.
While taking your child to a movie may seem like a pretty common experience for most parents, the low-income fathers we serve rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to do something this simple. These fathers do not have the extra income needed to cover the costs of travel, the movie tickets, or even popcorn, which made this particular Saturday a very special day. Because of all the challenges these families face, even finding the time for a special outing with their kids can be tricky.
Baby Buggy knows that making time for bonding and play is a critical component of positive parenting and we were thrilled to be able to help the dads we serve to “build” their relationships with family at this fun day at the movies (couldn’t resist the pun!).
We thought you would enjoy hearing some feedback from four of the dads who attended this event:
“I enjoyed taking Katie for a daddy-daughter date to the city to watch the Lego Movie. We haven't had the opportunity to travel to the city often. The movie was full of clean humor that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.”
-- Garry P.
“We enjoyed the Lego movie very much. Our 13 year old son thought he was too old to go to a “kiddy movie,” but he enjoyed himself so much. The time spent with our grandson, niece, and son was great. The Father’s First group and Baby Buggy are doing a great job making sure fathers and family get to spend quality time together. Keep up the great job. Looking forward to the next event!”
-- David M.
“I really enjoyed taking my son TJ to the movies. It was not only the first time that I took my son to the movies with just us (without the rest of the family), but also the first time that we’ve ever been in Manhattan together! I thought the movie would only be for TJ, but I also found it to be very entertaining. Thank you for this opportunity.”
-- Trevor B.
“Both my son and I really enjoyed the Lego Movie. It was the first time my son Tristan and I had been to the city alone together as well as to the movies alone! Not only did Tristan and I have a great time, he also kept his 3D glasses and brought them to school for show and tell! He was able to brag about the fact that he got to see such a cool movie and has those great glasses.”
-- Suraka S.
In 2010, Baby Buggy launched its Fatherhood Initiative to support fathers who are struggling to play a greater role in the lives of their children. Since that time, we have donated over 160,000 items to fatherhood participants in NYC and LA. Each month, we are going to feature some of the dads who have played a part in making this program happen. This month, it’s Baby Buggy’s own Office Manager, Rick Justiniano. Here is his interview with Baby Buggy’s Executive Director Katherine Snider: KS: When you joined Baby Buggy in 2009, there was only one other man on staff. And you were our first dad. You were a pioneer! What was it about Baby Buggy that appealed to you?
RICK: Helping families- I loved the idea. I loved the idea that it wasn’t just a 9 to 5 job. It was somewhere where you were happy to get up in the morning and come to work.
My parents came here from Puerto Rico in the 1960s. I grew up in a neighborhood with a lot of poverty. I saw the importance of giving back. It was always a struggle for my dad, but he worked hard. He was veryresponsible, he always put us first. My mom was a school teacher at PS 173. She was very dedicated, and she told us stories about kids living in really bad situations. My family volunteered a lot at a soup kitchen during the holidays, and we did food drives.
KS: You have two amazing, beautiful daughters. How old are they now?
RICK; Zoe is 12 and Mya is 14. Since I started work at Baby Buggy, the girls have become more consciousabout giving back. They are more appreciative of what they have.
KS: What is your favorite thing to do with your girls?
RICK: Going to the park on Sundays with my girls- when it’s warm. I love having picnics with them. Sundays in the winter start with a big breakfast. We all sit around reading. I read the Times, they do their homework. And then we all make a big dinner.
KS: Since you joined us, we launched our Fatherhood Initiative. What do you think it most interesting orimportant about this initiative?
RICK: Dads are so important to their kids. More important than many think they are. That status quo is that moms are more important. And the system supports that. I know from my own experience that dads often have to fight to be there for their children.
And I love the way we donate. We don’t just give out stuff. We ask fathers to make a commitment to theprogram and to their kids, and reward them for it. Our donations make it easier for them to be parents.
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