Daddy Up, Fort Bend!
By Elsa Maxey
This is not a “Who’s your daddy” sign-up, but rather, if you’re a dad, what do you say you sign up to be a better father? Missouri City resident Scott Porter heads a Houston area based nonprofit organization right here in Fort Bend County and he’s part of a nationwide initiative about encouraging a million men to sign up to be better fathers to their children. It starts by getting fathers signed up in time for this year’s Father’s Day, June 17.
Named “The Million Dads Pledge,” the initiative is a call to action, said Porter. The launch stems from Porter’s work as a former youth pastor and social worker. He said he noticed a relationship in young people who constantly act out or experience academic challenges and with coming from a home without a father. “I started realizing that no matter what type of structure I was trying to give them, nothing worked,” he said.
A native of the Bronx in New York, Porter is joined by two-time Olympic Medal Hurdler Terrence Trammel, the national spokesperson who Porter said has already been here in relation to this effort, and he will be available to come back. He and Porter are asking men across the U.S. to take a 12-step challenge – simple ways for them to become engaged in the lives of their children.
“We started the process approximately four and a half months ago” Porter told the “Star” about the organization that was formed this year. He formerly ran a Boot Hill Head Start Fatherhood First Program in Missouri and said, “the statistics speak for themselves,” referring to the number of homes without a parent – one in three, kids being at risk of dropping out of high school, suicide rates, bullying and other disturbing outcomes. “It’s alarming,” said Porter, and “it is everywhere you go,” including Fort Bend County. He cites census data noting that more than 24 million children nationwide grow up in a home without a father.
Porter is also assisted by the local area Fathers to Dads, Inc. co-founders, Leon and Sandra Jenkins, also Missouri City residents. The nonprofit organization on 10330 State Highway 6, Suite B is aimed at improving the well-being of children with fatherhood programs. It has access to renowned speakers for engagements in support of their mission. They include former Laker legend A.C. Green, former NFL player and Ambassador for the Houston Texans J.J. Moses, Prairie View A&M Professor Dr. Tyrone Tanner, Tuskegee Airman Dr. Calvin Spann, and local area artist and sculptor Tony Sherman, among others.
To take the 12-step-pledge, Porter asks that you visit www.fathers2dads.org. “We are just trying to motivate men who are disconnected to get connected, and men that are connected to go to another level in their relationships with their children,” he said.