TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The CHAMPS Program of Tuscaloosa's One Place, along with the Tuscaloosa Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and numerous sponsors, are hosting Fathers in the Park Saturday.
The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Annette Shelby Park, celebrates fathers and their importance in a child's life. There will be free food, games and music for the community, as well as resources to help families.
Tuscaloosa's One Placer aims to support and strengthen families. Their CHAMPS program is designed to help non-custodial parents, primarily fathers, improve relationships with their children and parenting skills.
The program also provides workforce development and other employment services to link parents to jobs so they can pay child support.
Brandon Chalmers, TOP Program Director for Adult and Family Education, says research shows over and over again the importance of a father in a child's life.
"It's going to decrease a lot of things like incidences of going to jail or prison, also going to have better health benefits, they're going to perform better in school and have better long-term outcomes when you have both parents heavily involved in their kids' lives," Chalmers said.
"Behavior we exhibit as adults is learned behavior, and we've got to model that from somewhere. And no better place than to start at the home, to have a good father role model or a father figure to be able to set a good example and to show, especially, young men the right way to conduct themselves," he continued.
TOP Executive Director Amanda Waller said: "Having a program here that's concentrated on fathers gives us that unique opportunity to celebrate fathers and to be able to emphasize what an important role that parent plays in a child's life."
Both Chalmers and Waller say in situations where parents are not together, they can still effectively co-parent and both be involved in their children's lives. CHAMPS helps families with these skills.
"Communication is key," Chalmers said. "That's where a lot of people have problems is that both parents don't communicate with each other, and they send mixed messages or they don't have a plan or goals for their families, and so the kids suffer from that."
Waller said recently, the CHAMPS program worked with a father who was able to reestablish a relationship with his child after 15 years of no contact.
Anyone who would like to learn more about the services of Tuscaloosa's One Place or CHAMPS, or who would like to volunteer with the program, can learn more at Fathers in the Park or online at www.tuscaloosaoneplace.org.