September 15, 2010

Y receives $15,000 'Excellence' award for Focus on Fathers

The Racine YMCA has been given a $15,000 Families Count/Family Strengthening Award from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in recognition of its Focus on Fathers program.

The Y was one of five across the country honored. Three received $15,000 Excellence Awards and two got $7,500 Inspiration Awards.

The award recognizes the Y's "exemplary work to strengthen and support families."

Excellence Awards recognize innovative and proven family strengthening programming that can serve as a model for Ys across the country.  The Racine Family YMCA began its Focus on Fathers program in 2007, after learning that 75 percent of community households were headed by a single parent, most often the mother. The goal is to nurture a healthier father-child relationship by addressing parenting challenges for dads no longer living with their children.

FoF focuses its work on neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty and/or high rates of juvenile crime, alcohol and drug use. Trained Y staff meets with groups of fathers for a 13-class session. In addition, fathers are provided opportunities to meet at home, school or community sites to share and learn from one another. Success is measured by the amount of time father and child spend together and the father's attendance and  participation at community events and activities, such as visiting the Y.

"The Families Count / Family Strengthening Awards recognize organizations that work to give vulnerable children what they need most – strong, capable and economically successful families," said Bonnie Howard  of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "The Ys selected this year truly make a difference in their communities. Their outstanding work opens doors to real opportunities for the families they serve."

Other Y's honored are in Phoenix, AZ; Elgin, IL; Brocton, MA; and Richmond, VA.

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