Fathers Incorporated Promoting the Importance of Reading and Fatherhood Engagement
Atlanta, GA—June 7, 2017–Fathers Incorporated, the leading national non-profit for the promotion of Responsible Fatherhood, launched the Real Dads Read (www.realdadsread.org) initiative in Atlanta, GA last year. Real Dads Read is a project aimed at fathers/male caregivers and their children 0-18 to encourage a love of reading, improve literacy skills and educational outcomes, and to strengthen bonds between fathers/caregivers and their children.
“While the overall project is designed to encourage all fathers to read to their children, there is a particular focus on Black and Latino fathers, particularly in low-income communities,” says Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director of Fathers Incorporated. “Reading is a fundamental skill. A child’s ability to read proficiently is a significant predictor of his or her school success, high school completion, and future economic stability. However, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, approximately 80% of low-income children will not achieve this crucial milestone. Our efforts to change this outcome starts by engaging barbershops and, eventually, creating Real Dads Read clubs in schools and churches in Atlanta and, then, nationwide,” continues Braswell.
“It confirms the importance of our work to be recognized by the Atlanta City Council for the work. It’s not easy convincing supporters to understand the importance of working with fathers,” says Ronald Williams, Board President of Fathers Incorporated. “So when a body of leaders collectively encourages your work, it makes you want to go the extra mile.”
“It was important for us to begin in Atlanta because it is our home base, and, currently, the city ranks #12 on the Black Male Achievement Index for efforts serving Black Men and Boys. It is our goal to be #1 for the advancement of both boys and girls of color in Atlanta. For our agency, it starts with engaging men and fathers in the education of our children,” says Braswell. “Fathers, particularly fathers of color, are often an overlooked resource for reading and education, but we know from research that reading is a great way for dads to develop a unique relationship with their children and to improve the quality and quantity of time they spend together.”
Real Dads Read is a two-generation approach to engaging and improving outcomes for both men and the children for which they are responsible. During the initial book drive the agency collected over 2500 books in partnership with 40 Barbershops in Atlanta. In February 2017 Fathers Incorporated with the help of the Anne E. Casey Foundation placed literacy centers (libraries) in 25 barbershops. The agency hopes to be in 100 barbershops throughout metro Atlanta by the end of 2017.
“Reading to and with your child is essential. It will not only imprint in your child’s mind the curiosity of learning and education, but it is the ultimate act of bonding and love between a parent and child,” said Dr. Jeff Gardere, “America’s Psychologist”.
The project will take two years to reach its full scope, which includes Real Dads Read clubs in schools, faith-based centers, libraries, community centers, etc. across the country. A curriculum is in development, along with an activity guide, to assist in the implementation of the project. Further financial support is needed for several areas of program development. “We can make a profound impact in our communities through Real Dads Read, but we cannot do it by ourselves,” states Braswell.
Fathers Incorporated will celebrate National Real Dads Read Day in Decatur by hosting “Make A Book With Dad,” from 6pm to 9pm. Multi Award Winning Illustrator R. Gregory Christie will be conducting a reading and engaging children in the making of hard bound books.
Please contact Fathers Incorporated for more information at 770.804.9800, firstname.lastname@example.org or via our website at www.realdadsread.org.
 See Campaign for Black Male Achievement Index at cityindex.blackmaleachievement.org