Fatherhood Café coming to Tulalip May 22

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Help spread the word! A four-hour event, dedicated to empowering Tulalip fathers, and other tribal dads, will be held at the TELA gym on Wednesday May 22. Known as the Fatherhood Community Café, the event is organized by the Washington Fatherhood Council and has been held in various counties in our state over the past few years. 

Tulalip will be one of the few, if not the first, Washington State tribe the council has collaborated with. The departments that are involved in planning the event, which is officially dubbed ‘Dad Allies Community Café’ for the Tulalip stop, include Family Haven, TELA, and Housing. In addition to the abundance of resources and information that will be available at the community café, the departments incorporated time for some culture and is inviting fathers to bring their drums for a mini coastal jam. 

According to research by the National Fatherhood Initiative, 1 in 5 children live without a father in the home unit within Washington State. The same study showed that 30% of single parents in our state are dads. 

Said Dieter Jacobs, Child Support Program Administrator at Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, “Research shows that when fathers are engaged, the children do better, and we need to support that. Dads bring something different to the table in that fatherhood role. We need to support fathers – we need to support the whole family. With the café, we want to get providers at the table to chat with the dads. We want them to talk about local happenings as well as things like child support, court, access to education, and for those incarcerated– how to support them while they’re in jail and how do we continue that when they come out. But it’s important we get them talking about what’s working, what’s not working, and what would work. Just sharing info and giving them an opportunity to ask questions. And dad allies are invited too – in laws, girlfriends.”

Dieter, who is also a member of the Washington Fatherhood Council, explained that the council is advocating for local fathers statewide by raising awareness, assisting in policy changes to be more inclusive for dads in state programs and schools, and also through a number of activities that include an annual fatherhood summit, a workshop series, and the fatherhood cafés.  

Space is limited, so if you are interested in attending the Dad Allies Community Café, please sign-up at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fathers-matter-a-community-conversation-with-tulalip-tribal-dads-tickets-850985940857. The event begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. Fathers who choose to participate in the café will receive a gift card incentive for their time. Childcare will also be offered during the day of the event, so dads can take their time and learn about a number of topics such as housing, employment, and fatherhood services. 

A free lunch will be catered by local Hawaiian restaurant, Taste of Aloha. And there will plenty of chances to win an assortment of prizes by participating in a basketball shooting contest, a cornhole contest, and a raffle. 

“We want to make sure our fathers have support and can come together and build a core group, build community, and have space to move forward in a good way,” expressed Sasha Smith, Family Haven’s Youth and Family Support Coordinator. “We want to help give them tools to feel more successful and to engage in services, culture, community, and help them be the dad that they want to be. We hear you, Indigenous dads. We’re here for you, we want to support you. Make sure you sign up and come break bread with us.”