Strong fathers program helps build backbone of the city

By Rory Lancman

I had the great privilege this past weekend to serve as the commencement speaker at the Strong Fathers program graduation ceremony at Forestdale Inc. The Strong Fathers program consists of dozens of men, young and old, who are working to improve their relationships with their partners and their children.

While the circumstances that brought these men to Forestdale are each different, every participant in the program had the same goal in mind: to become a better and more caring father.

The graduation ceremony marked the culmination of many weeks of hard work, study and introspection for these men.

The program itself is centered on empowering fathers with the skills needed to raise a child, work in partnership with their spouse or loved one, and handle interpersonal situations in an effective and calm manner.

There is no doubt that completion of this well-rounded and inspiring course will serve these fathers and families well into the future.

But the message I wanted these men to understand on their graduation day was that the individual relationships they develop with their loved ones and children will have an impact on all of us in New York City.

Strong families are the backbone of our city.

Burgeoning businesses, safe streets, and welcoming neighborhoods are not possible in our city without families providing the foundation for success. New York City’s present and future depends on families that love and support each other, are active and engaged in their communities, and provide care and opportunity to their children.

We rise and fall together as one city. The fathers who completed this course, and strived to make meaningful changes in their relationships, will not only benefit their families, but benefit of all of us in the city as well.

Our city government today spends money on a whole range of programs and services over the course of a year. But there is nothing that we can spend money on that is more important and valuable than helping parents become better parents to their children.

That is what makes programs and services offered at institutions like Forestdale, which is sponsored by the Department of Youth & Community Development, so vital to the success of our city.

As the father of three kids, I know that every father — and every parent for that matter – wants to be a better role model for their children.

By investing their time and energy into completing the Strong Fathers program, these men set powerful example to their family, friends and New York City that the work to become a better father and friend never stops.

Rory Lancman

City Councilman, Hillcrest

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