The Most Valuable Father Award Winner has been announced by Holly Zwerling, LMFT, LCSW, Founder, President and CEO of the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida. The criteria for the Award are for Fathers to be involved in their child's life; support and nurture them; interact in their education, play, and activities; and to be a role model for positive values by guiding and supporting them socially and emotionally.
Filmmaker Emmanuel Philogene, 38, is the Most Valuable Father Award Winner for January 2017. A single father raising a son, Philogene stated, "It is a privilege to be a father and I acknowledge that there are responsibilities to honor my role. My parents are from Haiti and have been married for over 40 years. I have two sisters and one brother and we are a very close family. I was the first born in the United States. My family has lived in Miami for over 35 years and it is our home."
Philogene continued, "A father's role is very important in a child's life. The early years in my son's life were instrumental to my father-son relationship and we now have a bond that cannot be easily broken. My son is now 16 and is part of his high school's Junior ROTC program. His favorite hobbies are video games and dancing. We play tennis together and he joins me in some of my activities. These are priceless moments. The value most important to me in raising my son is respect. I show him it's important to get the most out of life by living my life respectfully. As a father, I choose to be supportive, encouraging and involved in all aspects of his life. I feel it pushes both him and me."
"In my community," says Philogene, "many fathers are not present in their children's daily life. Young males always look up to me for guidance. I make myself available and try to encourage other dads to step up to the plate to stay involved in their child's life. I have motivated fathers to go back and rekindle their relationship with their kids. I mentor young people and have spoken to students at a local high school about what it means to be a father. I have empowered other fathers to get involved with their families and the community by telling them my story as a single dad regarding what I had to learn about the law to remain involved with my son and what rights I have. Through my videos and film, I capture real stories that fathers share with me."
Philogene thoughtfully stated, "Fathers are not often helped in the same way mothers are. My advice to single fathers is to stay strong, seek advice, and never give up on your child because in the end, it's all worth it! My goal is to let single fathers know regardless of how challenging raising a child may be, there is always hope and immense rewards when it comes to being a part of their child's life."
"The Fatherhood Task Force applauds and values Fathers who find uninterrupted time to engage with their children in addition to making their safety and well-being a priority," stated Zwerling. "The challenges of single fathers are many. In general, society has a hard time recognizing the complexities of a single father raising a child. A goal of the Fatherhood Task Force is to change that. For example, on January 14 we are holding a Paternal Health Care & Education Conference at Albizu University in Miami."
About the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida (www.ftfsf.org): An advocacy and community action organization with national influence, their mission is to facilitate the involvement of Fathers in children's lives by developing and promoting programs for fathers, grandfathers, uncles, male role models and mentors related to all stages of parenthood.