Miami Village Elder Sets High Standards for Father Engagement
Local Hero and Role Model Honored With Most Valuable Father Award
As a parent of two sons, ages thirty-four and twenty, Person has experienced many challenges. His eldest son, Jared, a former member of the US Navy, experienced a near fatal accident in 2005 while on active duty. "At a certain point, that experience, more than any other, helped me understand what it means to be a father," Person recalled. Although his son sustained burns over his body and face, miraculously, he did not lose his eyesight. Jared proudly obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Film Production in 2016, has completed a few short projects, and is also the father of a ten-year old daughter. His youngest son, Adrian, will begin classes at Tallahassee Community College in Fall 2017. A certified scuba diver, Adrian loves the outdoors and may pursue a career as a park ranger.
Person added, "While raising my sons, I was conscious that nothing boosted their self-confidence and self-esteem like unexpected praise. A card of encouragement placed on their pillow or a pat on the back. But, I believe, the most effective way to raise self-esteem, especially in males, is for them to hear you speak highly of them to other people."
Being involved as a mentor gives Person the opportunity to see and interact with a variety of children's talents and abilities. It has allowed him the opportunity to participate in the development of those unique talents and abilities. "I love being in the presence of young children and adolescents. It is an experience that never gets old," he said. "I cannot describe the feeling of joy I get when I receive calls from young adults that I've worked with in the past who are now in college or working in their chosen profession."
Person travelled to the Florida State House with the Fatherhood Task Force and high school students on a trip sponsored by The Children's Trust and The Children's Movement during Children's Week. Remembering the trip, he said, "I wanted to use my power as a father to show legislators that fathers' voices matter in determining education and health matters. It was critical to influence their perception of the important role fathers play in children's lives and recognize that I personify a positive father-figure for all children."
It's Person's expectation to revive the village, invest time and effort into the village, and make it a living entity. He wants to empower other fathers, grandfathers and male role models by encouraging them to come together often. It is his goal to help them realize that they are now the "village elders" and their past experiences could positively change the life of a young person forever. He believes that at this place in time, he is here to effect change, and play a part in the development of a new generation of young women and men who will make this world into what it should be.
About the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida (www.ftfsf.org):
An advocacy organization with national influence, the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida's mission is to facilitate the involvement of Fathers in children's lives by developing and promoting programs for fathers, grandfathers, uncles and male mentors related to all stages of parenthood. Their Fatherhood Reading Squad trains and prepares Fathers from all walks of life to go into classrooms to read, tell stories and mentor Pre-K - 3rd grade students.
The criteria for the Most Valuable Father Award are for fathers and male role models to be involved in children's lives; support, nurture, interact in their education and activities; and be a role model for positive values by guiding and supporting them physically, socially and emotionally. Holly Zwerling, LMFT, LCSW, Founder, President & CEO, Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida (Holly@fatherhoodtfsf.org)
Holly Zwerling, President & CEO
Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida
Page Updated Last on: Apr 20, 2017