in honor of the great martin luther king, jr.
the parent you choose to be
the parent you choose to be
The Children’s Trust: Strengthening Families [Logo]
Jessica Simmons, Healthy Families Participant, Program funded by the Children’s Trust.
[talking to young boy, pointing into his book]
What’s that? You know what that is…That’s a duck!
Denzel Gonzalez, Healthy Families Participant
The duck goes “quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack!”
[Boy points to something in the book]
Robert Sege, MD, PhD, Board Member, the Children’s Trust, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
The Massachusetts Children’s Trust is our state’s leading organization to support families with young children. We’ve been a catalyst for family support programs for over 25 years.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was scared and nervous. I wasn’t sure how great of parents we would be together. Growing up, I bounced from not having a mom to having foster moms, to having adopted moms, and then going back into foster homes. I really just want to be the best mom that I can be for my son.
Home visiting matches young families with trained professionals. These people go to the home. They help families with everything from child development to really nurturing the young parents themselves.
Leah Clements, Healthy Families Home Visitor, Program funded by the Children’s Trust
We helped them [Jessica and Denzel] get signed up with Mass Health and get insurance, and we also taught them about her pregnancy, and we also included dad.
Going into labor I was completely confident. I knew what was to be expected.
I mean, there’s nothing that she won’t do for my son, and that’s so important to me, for her being such a loving mother. It just like, makes me love her more as a woman and as a mother as well.
Nurturing Fathers focuses on fathers in Massachusetts and that’s really innovative; that’s something that we do especially well in this state and we’re really proud of it.
Mario Chaparro, Nurturing Fathers Participant, Program funded by the Children’s Trust
[Sitting with a fussy toddler in his lap]
Nurturing Fathers taught me how to communicate with my son, like, how to raise my son the right way, because me growing up, my parents didn’t teach us like that, so I kind of know now through Nurturing Fathers how to raise my son, how to communicate with my son, even when he acts like this [smiles].
[Toddler babbling, hands Dad his phone].
At first I had worries about [Denzel sighs] Denzel being a father. I wasn’t sure if he was ready.
I wanted to learn how to be the best dad I could be.
Haji Shearer, Director of Fatherhood Initiative, Initiative funded by the Children’s Trust.
When men learn how to do that, we hear from the dads that they feel more connected to their families and that they’re actually happier people because they’ve learned to connect on a deeper level with the people who they care most about.
Chris Beach, Nurturing Fathers Participant, Program funded by the Children’s Trust
[Sitting with his children behind him. To his daughter]
Come on Deja, come stand over here with me…Come stand with me.
Where’s Poppy when you need him?
Just be with Daddy for now. Come on, Deja.
When I stood up and I read to my children, the father that I choose to be, and I looked at them, and I actually meant it, you know, and they knew that I meant it because I had started to do some things differently. I remember yelling at one of my daughters one weekend or something, and she said “Now, now Daddy! Remember!”, and she pulled out the paper, because she kept the paper. “This is the father you choose to be!”
Men who may not have had the experience of being fathered by their own dad, they’re trying to learn things maybe for the first time. We support dads in not just learning the skills, but helping them to become more confident in their skills and learn how to partner with mom so that they are able to have a more harmonious family.
Jamaul Miller, Nurturing Fathers Participant, Program funded by the Children’s Trust
I think my efforts were seen. I think her mom really respected, not only just her mom, but her mother’s mother, just kind of had a different respect for me.
[Talking to his daughter, Jaya] Do I take good care of you?
Like on a scale, from zero to ten?
Zero to a hundred!
[Smiles] Awesome! One hundred?
Two thousand [laughs]. Three thousand! To infinity and beyond!”
[He kisses her cheek]
Thank God for Healthy Families for giving me my resources and basically, like, putting out the map for me.
We’re committed to improving the lives of children. During these early childhood years, adverse experiences affect the structure of the brain, so what we do for children, now, influences their entire lives.
[Talking to her son]
You know how to say bird. Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep!
Bird. Good boy! [Laughter]
The Children’s Trust: Strengthening Families [Logo].