1. This is a story about young minority single fathers who are determined to break the stereotypes that have been placed on them. With the aid of Mayor Bloomberg’s Fatherhood Initiative Hispanic and African American men set out to break the cycle of lifestyles they have adopted as a result of their absentee fathers.
2. Twenty one year old Jesus Benitez was in search of somewhere he could get his GED certificate. To him that certificate would be the first step to gainful employment. It meant the 21 year old single father and Bronx native would be able to provide a better life for his four year old Mason. The 200 dollar check he received each month did not guarantee them stability. It was then that Benitez stumbled upon CUNY’s Fatherhood Academy. What he thought would be a starchy rigid program was so much more than he expected. Jesus has successfully completed the program. The success of the program in his life has propelled him into achieving more. He is currently at La Guardia Community College taking remedial Math and English classes in order to pursue a degree in Information Technology.
I chose this story, as I wanted to explore the Mayor’s relationship with young minority men. In light of recent stop and frisk policies being labeled racist and seen as a direct attack on the city’s black and Hispanic young men it was a great opportunity to delve into a program Mayor Bloomberg created specifically to improve the life of minority young men.
Though not shown on the video I was impressed by Jesus’ eagerness to keep the program going. When asked if he was afraid the incoming Mayor would cancel the program he expressed his certainty that other minorities like himself who have benefitted from the program will take up the mantle
For further reading on the topic. Do check out the links posted below:
As a kid my mom tells me that I was really calm. Stay in one spot and play in one spot. And Mason just goes everywhere.
My dad was never around. I grew up with my stepdad for a bit. But then he just walked out from the family, and I was the I was the man in the house. I was 17 my son was gonna be born already. 1 was always with my friends and I would always see them say hi to their fathers and everything and when my time came with my father I didn’t have no connection with him . So I wanted my son to have something different. I wanted him to go, you know, have that relationship I never had. I wanted him to have someone to tell him what’s good, what’s right, you know someone to laugh and help when he got hurt or something. Every day I would go to work and on the train when drinking my coffee thinking ‘how is it gonna be in five years? How is he gonna look at me?’ Every day that would be the same question. ‘Am I gonna have enough of this, am I gonna have enough of that? There was a guy that came and showed us couple of videos about the parenting thing we all thought that it wouldn’t apply to us because you know we come from you know, the ’hood so it was funny but… I mean, the guy, actually took some things that we were saying and he told us how could they make it better. They mostly helped me with problems with my baby mom, cause she was, she’d just cause problems every time she comes. We had this thing in our cohort we used to say cycle-breakers because instead of doing our daily routine we stepped out of the comfort zone and try to do something better for ourselves. It inspired me because I just went for the GED, honestly. I wasn’t planning to go college or anything; they push me, you know. They were like, ‘look, you good at this thing, so you could do better; you could do even more. I wanna be a computer programmer but I also wanna help people. I want to go back and be part of Community Fatherhood; yeah I wanna help them expand. I live good right now, I’m raising my son, I just want him to know that I’m going on the right path or to a good path and I want him to see that what I’m doing. I love him so much.