Background: New York City Housing Authority Fatherhood Initiative
Father and child at NYCHA development. (Photo by Leticia Barboza)
The goal of the NYCHA Fatherhood Initiative is to provide an atmosphere within NYCHA Community Centers in which fathers can gain parenting skills and sustainable life skills while participating in an array of cultural, educational, recreational and social events which foster engagement between dads and their children.
The first NYCHA Fatherhood Initiative event, in which fathers were greeted by service providers and agency representatives along with a diversity of cultural and recreational activities, was held at the Williamsburg Community Center on July 31, 2010. That event was followed by similar ones (involving more than 400 fathers) in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens, along with a June 18 kick-off for Staten Island. At each event, the NYCHA Social Services Department administers a Pre-Assessment Survey which is used to better assist and direct fathers to the types of programming/resources that best fit their needs. After the launch, fathers have the option of attending subsequent free workshops with their children by registering at their borough’s Community Operations Office.
Additionally, NYCHA is in the early stages of implementing an Early Literacy component to the fatherhood initiative. This component will feature literacy skills and reading technique training for fathers who participate in the workshops with the intention of enabling them to employ these methods as they read to their children.