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!
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