Journalism / New Haven Register

Boys learn what ‘dads’ really do

Program teaches kids how to be successful men, good fathers

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
June 15, 2008

NEW HAVEN — The 30 boys standing in a classroom at Church on the Rock on Hamilton Street Saturday spoke loudly in unison.

“When I am a father, my family will be able to depend on me,” they said. “When I am a father, I will let my family know how important they are to me.”

The boys were preparing for a special Father’s Day service at Church on the Rock today, when they and mentors in the church’s Boys 2 Men program will appear in front of the congregation. The boys, led by Boys 2 Men director Michael Brooks, will make a series of vows related to an acronym for “father”: Faithful, affirming, trustworthy, honorable, engaged and responsible.

The Father’s Day activities have included discussions of what it means to be a good father.

“The boys are gong to be reciting what it means to be a great dad,” Brooks said. “They’re going to be affirming what it means as a dad to be faithful to your children.”

During Saturday’s rehearsal, the mentors in the program also taught some of the children how to tie a tie, which they will wear today. The boys range in age from six or seven years old to early adolescence.

“The whole objective is to work with them as early as possible so when they’re blessed to have their own children they’ll be as successful as possible, said Brooks, whose 7-year-old son Michael is a participant.

The Boys 2 Men program has been in place for a few years, but this is the first year the roughly 35 participants have worked on a special Father’s Day element, Brooks said.

“We’re working with the boys to transition them into manhood, giving them the skill sets they need to be successful in school (and) to be successful in life,” he said.

On Saturday, several of the boys in the program said they have enjoyed talking about the role of fathers.

“Being a good father means being there for you family, like if your child gets hurt as school, you’ll be there to pick them up,” said Lonzo Reed, 11. “If they have a cold, (you) get them some chicken noodle soup.”

Edwin Rodriguez, 11, said he thinks he has learned more about how to be a good father.

“I’ve learned that there’s more to being a father than meets the eye,” he said. “You think that fathers are just there to teach their sons how to live, but they’re there to help kids do what they need to do — get them to school, help them with school activities.”

Not all the participants in the Boys 2 Men program are members of Church on the Rock. For more information on the group, call the church at 498-2687 or e-mail cotr@snet.net.

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