I’ll never forget hearing Kevin Cornett’s powerful childhood story for the first time. The Springdale police chief was abused at a young age. His childhood was filled with traumatic experiences of abandonment and neglect. Now the father of four boys, he is passionate about advocating for fathers’ positive involvement in their children’s life.
The absence of a father significantly negatively impacts children’s social and emotional development and can have a lasting negative impact on mental health outcomes into adulthood. Father absence is also associated with youth delinquency, among other adverse outcomes.
In comparison, positive father involvement is associated with improved academic and psychological outcomes.
Despite the important influence of fathers, few resources exist for supporting dads. The Midlands Fatherhood Coalition is an exception.
This nonprofit organization focused on engaging fathers in the positive support of their children provides free services that include education, job readiness, men’s health education, legal education, parenting, spiritual development, referrals, job assistance, drug/alcohol education and peer support. Last year, it served 1,311 fathers and saved taxpayers $2.84 million in incarceration costs through its Jobs Not Jail Program.
When Chief Cornett shared his vision for the Daddy & Me 5K, a family-friendly event presented by Iron Sharpens Iron, I knew that Serve & Connect had to help. The run, which will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday in Springdale, will raise money for the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition. It perfectly matches our commitment to connect those who are called to serve.
Police can help dads reconnect with their families. For example, if there is a warrant out for a father’s arrest for failure to pay child support, police can reach out to the Fatherhood Coalition to get help for a father in need. Connecting dads to services can stop the cycle of incarceration and promote bright futures for families.
The Lexington Police Department is already working with the coalition, supporting community outreach and recruitment efforts to reach dads in need. Through our partnership with the Springdale Police Department and the Daddy & Me 5K, we hope to expand the reach of this effort to help even more fathers.
Whether a police officer or a citizen, we can all choose to be a part of the solution. Dads matter, so let’s help them.
CEO, Serve & Connect
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