Fatherhood Support Group in Nashua

Fatherhood Support Group in Nashua

Fatherhood Support Group in Nashua

The Mission To Unite Families in Nashua

By Benjamin Kabanda

They say a daughter’s first love is their father, and a son’s first friend is a dad. Being a father is something the Fatherhood Support Group in Nashua values as they try to carry out their mission in Nashua, NH.

That is the main idea I got when I met with members of the Fatherhood Support Group on Friday, March 22.

Robert Ortiz, a public health medical assistant at the Public Health and Community Services in Nashua, NH, and a member of the Fatherhood group, says he wants fathers to be heard. “There was a need for parent groups, specifically for fathers,” said Ortiz.

According to a 2023 U.S. Census report, some 18 million children live with no father in the home — 24 percent of all children under 18.

The organization’s mission and vision is to promote, protect, and preserve the wellbeing of the health and well-being of the Greater Nashua Public Health region through leadership and community collaboration.

“We see a lot of dads in times of need, and they don’t know where to go,” said Ebram, a member of the Fatherhood Support Group.

Fathers are known as the family breadwinners. According to society, when there is a problem in the family, it’s the father’s job to fix it.

This should not be considered the case. The organization does its best to provide resources that benefit fathers in their roles in families.

The group currently has people who have children ages 0 to 36, with 70% of the children under the age of 12. The people who have participated in the sessions come from multicultural backgrounds and want to change their children’s and their families' lives positively.

In this group, fathers are encouraged to use their voices, perspectives, and knowledge and/or cultivate an understanding of parenting.

“We discuss everything and anything as a father,” said Ortiz.

“Everything from skills-based training to father consistency and awareness,” said Josh.

Over time, the group has built relationships with other organizations.

“Through time, we’ve built partnerships with DCYF and Better Together,” said Ortiz.

Many parenting groups have catered to moms wanting to better themselves as parents.

Unfortunately, there are situations where mothers don’t see the value of children having a father figure in their lives. According to PsychPage, about 20% of custodial mothers see no need for their children to continue a relationship with their fathers.

The group is known as the first organization to support dads in the Nashua area. It has held multiple sessions over the last year and a half.

“October 2022 was when we held our first session, and we’ve had 14 sessions since then,” said Ebram. During the sessions, topics such as fatherhood, Father’s Day, Mental Health, and men’s relationship with shame and vulnerability.

The group promotes their organization's cause by advertising in public places in Nashua.

“We promote our cause by advertising at local hospitals and barbershops,” said Ortiz.

The Fatherhood support group is also connected with United Way, another social service program in Nashua.

In the support group, they are open to helping out fathers of all backgrounds.

“We are definitely open to working with minorities,” said Josh.

Josh, a group member, has stated that accommodations, such as translation services, can be provided for people who don’t speak English.

The group emphasized that not having a father figure in anyone’s life can negatively impact a person long-term. “Not having a father increases your chances of poverty,” said Ebram.

Females can also alter their livelihood by not having someone to be their father when they grow up. “Daughters may have problems managing other male relationships if they don’t have a father figure growing up,” said Ebram.

“There is an increased risk of teen pregnancy when a daughter does not have a father figure growing up,” said Josh.

Ortiz knows the importance of being a father on a personal level.

Ortiz and the group then go on to value the cultural aspect and the presence his father bestowed on him.

Growing up with a father can teach men how to act as fathers.

“You take the good and the bad,” said Ortiz.

“It establishes a foundation on how you want to be a father,” said Ebram.

Becoming a father was described like a building block from growing up with a father to being one yourself.

“Having a father as a man while being one is like starting from the third floor of a house and not necessarily the basement,” said Ebram.

Becoming a father can also put a lot of pressure on a man.

“I was told to be the man of the family,” said Josh. It's important to realize that raising a child is a team effort by the whole town and community.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” said Ortiz.

The Father Support Group has resources that can help fathers better understand their roles in raising their children.

“You don’t know all the answers, but you’ll know where to find them,” said Ebram.

The main goal of the group is to unite families.

The support group is holding a session on May 14th at the Nashua Library Theatre.

Photo: Members of The Fatherhood Group of Nashua during a recent meeting of the support group.

(Photo by Benjamin Kabanda)

This article was produced in partnership with Nashua Digital and is being shared with the partners in the Granite State News Collaborative. For more information, visit collaborativenh.org .

Benjamin Kabanda is a young journalist working for Nashua Digital. Currently he is enrolled at Franklin Pierce University majoring in Communication while minoring in Marketing.. Recently, he made an article for Nashua Digital talking about a financial workshop at Keene State College

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