A Collaborative of Fathers

Recently I attended a Summit of Parents in Greensboro, NC.  The Summit was for the Parent Leader Network which produced the Manifesto that originated in Oakland, CA back in 2017. The Manifesto is a document that assists organizations that work in the early childhood system promote equitable outcomes and maximize opportunities for all children through working with parents. At the Summit there was a celebration and recognition of fathers getting involved in early childhood development. What was inspiring is that each father had a recognition that we were there for more than our own immediate families.

It has become apparent that many fathers only get involved when there is something in it for them at meetings. Many times, when I have spoken to fathers about attending an event or a meeting the first question I get asked is what they get for attending. Sometimes there needs to be an understanding that the sacrifice of time will benefit their child.

The six fathers at the Summit had a shared understanding that parenting and advocacy is all about the child. That we want our communities to grow in opportunities for families. It felt great to not speak to win someone over but just a time to share ideas about what is working in our collaboratives and communities.  We took a pledge to get other fathers involved in early childhood development and accept that every form of involvement may be different from what we envision for that father.


Funding from the Office of Great Start within the Michigan Department of Education supports the implementation of Great Start.