On Nov 2nd, the Cobblestone Project is hosting our second "Present in the City" evening together. For this gathering, we have chosen to focus on the issues of Fatherlessness and have invited Dr. John Sowers, author of "Fatherless Generation" & President of The Mentoring Project, to be our guest. But some may ask,
"Why a night to focus on the issue of fatherlessness?"
"What does this have to do with serving the under-resourced in our community?"
"What kind of impact could this make?"
"Is this really an issue in our community?"
These are all honest and much needed questions. These are the exact same questions that we have asked of ourselves in preparing for this gathering together.
Here are our thoughts...
Within the framework of the Cobblestone Project it is our desire to work towards "a community without need" by "identifying needs, connecting needs with resources and fulfilling those needs with sustainable solutions". In this pursuit, many initiatives have come to life to meet the physical needs of the poor in our community by creating spaces and opportunities to meet those in need on equal footing in a very personal way. And, they are truly beautiful spaces.
In these spaces and in these initiatives, it has been impossible to deny that the breakdown of support structures and the breakdown of the family has an devastating impact on a person's ability to provide for themselves, stay in school, hold down a job and ultimately lift themselves out of their circumstances. In fact, within all four of our Our Step cases so far, there has been one common story. It has been the breakdown of family support structures that have led to domestic violence, poverty and homelessness. In each case we have worked to place single parents into homes.
While we must continue to work in our efforts to alleviate the symptoms of poverty, we must also work towards breaking these cycles leading to poverty, domestic violence and homelessness. So, where do begin in the effort to truly break these cycles?
Consider these statistics referenced in John Sowers' book "Fatherless Generation"
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from a fatherless home
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from a fatherless home
- 85% of all youths in prison come from a fatherless home
- 75% of all adolescents in chemical abuse centers come from a fatherless home
- 80% of all rapists motivated with displace anger come from a fatherless home
- 85% of all youth who exhibit behavior disorders come from a fatherless home
- 70% of all juveniles in state-operated institutions come from a fatherless home
- 71% of all pregnant teenagers come from a fatherless home
- 63% of all youth suicides come from a fatherless home
To say that there is a strong connection between the issue of fatherlessness and the effects of poverty is a huge understatement. Take a minute to consider this video...
Therefore, we are inviting our community to come, gather together and begin to learn how the issue of fatherlessness is having an impact on our community.
David Blankenhorn (author and researcher) states it this way...
"Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation. It is the leading cause of declining child well-being in our society. It is also the engine driving our most urgent social problems, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse to domestic violence against women. Yet, despite its scale and social consequences, fatherlessness is a problem that is frequently ignored or denied."
For more information including time and location of "Present in the City - the Fatherless", please visit the Cobblestone Project website and please consider picking up "Fatherless Generation" by Dr. John Sowers.