On Sunday, fathers, stepfathers, and father figures will be celebrated and honored for their contribution to our families and our community.
The holiday for celebrating fathers in the United States has strong roots in the State of Washington, with many crediting the holiday’s origin to a June 19, 1910 celebration held at the YMCA in Spokane. Although many fathers will be receiving gifts this year (thanks for the tie), I urge fathers to give of themselves, create lasting memories, and change our community for the better.
Every father is bestowed with an immense responsibility; to be a positive role model to their sons and daughters. Why is this so important? More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. The U.S Census Bureau found that children in father-absent homes are almost four-times more likely to live in poverty — with 44 percent of children in fatherless families living in poverty. According to “What Can the Federal Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?” a document created by the U.S. Department of Justice, children from fatherless homes accounted for staggering statistics including 63 percent of youth suicides, 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders, 71 percent of all high school dropouts, 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions and 75 percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers.
What can you do? Active fathers need to continue being positive role models for their children and keep creating memories and traditions. It starts at home and it starts with family values.
For my family, it’s about participating in the Run Amok Irish Running Club, Special Olympics events, parades, youth sports, and community activities. But, we also help create memories and a stable environment by including other children in our family activities, in our lives, and in our home.
We can’t make a person be a good father, or a good parent, and we can’t put a father-figure in every household. However, we can try to be positive role models in the community.
Positive male role models can change a community by creating memories and leading by example. We need more fathers, grandfathers, and role models volunteering. Join me by mentoring high school students, participating in WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), volunteering as a coach in community youth sports like soccer and little league or becoming a reading buddy in a classroom.
These small moments and little gestures are monumental for many children in our community and can resonate with them for a lifetime.
Make it your goal to give to the community this Father’s Day. Together we can make create positive memories and can change our community. If you don’t know where to start, contact your school district or local volunteer organizations like the Boys and Girls Club or United Way, visit Fatherhood.gov, DadsOfGreatStudents.com, StrongFathers.com, or contact me directly at
Peter Abbarno is an attorney with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP and Centralia City Councilor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.