DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris and Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson speak on the Importance of Fatherhood at All Pro Dad Event

Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris speaking at All Pro Dad Event in Jacksonville
Shown L-R: Tony Graham, Florida Department of Education Program Specialist, Faith- and Community-Based Programs; Mark Merrill, Founder and President of Family First; Secretary Shevaun Harris, Florida Department of Children and Families; Head Coach Doug Peterson, Jacksonville Jaguars and Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr., Florida Department of Education

Hundreds of local fathers and their children gathered at the All Pro Dad event at Daily’s Place Flex Field on the Jacksonville Jaguars practice field, to enjoy a morning of interactive play and activities with head coach Doug Pederson. This one-of-a-kind experience allows fathers to connect and play with their children in a unique setting. The format is designed to strengthen relationships between dads and kids and their kids as they rotate through stations on the field.

Coach Pederson gave families tips on fatherhood, citing his own experiences with his children. Florida’s Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris attended to speak about the importance of fatherhood and the impact on a child’s life.

To support fathers and families, two years ago, Florida launched the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, a state initiative that empowers fathers to embrace their unique roles in their children’s lives. Nearly one in four children in the United States do not have an active father present in their lives which can impact the child’s social and emotional well-being. Children with involved dads have fewer behavioral problems in middle childhood and adolescence.

Through this initiative, DCF created a network of 30 community organizations providing free educational programs, mentorship programs and one-on-one support across the state. 10 of these organizations are providing services to fathers, families and youth in Jacksonville. This includes a wide variety of support such as parenting classes, healthcare access, job training, programs specifically for incarcerated dads, among many others.

All Pro Dad and the Family First team have been key partners in the state’s initiative: challenging, equipping, and empowering dads to be a positive factor in their children’s lives through their programming and events.

If you are a father or family looking for specific support, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Check out the Father First website’s “Your Community” section for additional resources specific to what you are looking for: https://fatherfirstfl.com/
  2. Join the Team: Get daily tips on how to dad, the latest info on local dad gatherings, and fatherhood inspiration delivered right to your inbox.

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