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Celebrating Father’s Day and Promoting Fatherhood

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Like many Americans, President Obama celebrated Father’s Day this past Sunday. The day has special meaning for the President, whose administration has made strong efforts to encourage fatherhood in communities across the United States. In fact, President Obama has identified promoting responsible fatherhood as one of the four main policy goals of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Since his first year in office, the President and members of his administration have been talking with fathers across the country to hear about the challenges they face. The President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative has established mentoring programs across the country for children of single mothers and has highlighted several Americans who are exemplary fathers or work to promote strong families. As men have traditionally discussed issues in the community at barbershops, this Father’s Day the Department of Health and Human Services launched Fatherhood Buzz, a program which connects barbershops with the resources to build stronger families in their communities and encourage men to be engaged fathers.

Promoting fatherhood is an issue that is particularly important to President Obama. As he grew up with an absent father, he understands the difficulties children of single-parent families face. Last year the President stated:

“I had a heroic mom and wonderful grandparents who helped raise me and my sister, and it's because of them that I'm able to stand here today. But despite all their extraordinary love and attention, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel my father's absence.”

This experience has inspired him to be present in his own children’s lives, from making sure they finish their homework to coaching Sasha’s basketball team. He understands fatherhood can be difficult, once calling it “my hardest, but always my most rewarding job.” And because he knows the value of a father in a child’s life, President Obama works hard to encourage other fathers to be involved parents as well.

Initiatives such as Fatherhood and Mentoring and Fatherhood Buzz exemplify President Obama’s commitment to American Families and ensuring a prosperous future for even the youngest Americans. In 2009 he stated, “Children who grow up without fathers are more likely to drop out of school and wind up in prison. They’re more likely to have substance abuse problems, run away from home, and become teenage parents themselves.” Through no fault of their own, children with absent fathers face different struggles than some of their peers, creating another roadblock to a successful education and a prosperous career.

President Obama firmly believes that, as Americans, we are greater together than on our own. In order to build a better future for American children, we need to work together to remove potential barriers to their success. Promoting fatherhood is just one step toward creating a path to prosperity. That’s why the President has made it a top priority to create a culture where responsible fatherhood is a virtue championed by all.