Voices of Young Fathers: An Introduction

Building a Noble Legacy is a Fathers and Families Center initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation. This is a  two-year initiative designed to assist young fathers aged 16-24 heal from past trauma, grow as parents, providers and partners, and thrive as community leaders. One of the most critical components of Building a Noble Legacy is the art clinic, which helps young fathers of color to find their voices through various forms of art. Every father who comes to us has faced multiple hardships and struggles. Each has joined the program to change their life’s trajectory so that they can make a better life for their families.

In life, we primarily learn by two methods: experience or example. Many of the participants lacked a positive role model to follow. Due to this, each learned about the society, streets, and the court system often through painful experiences. These painful experiences caused them to reevaluate their past life choices and look for a new direction for their life – leading them to Fathers and Families Center. The art clinic offered each man the opportunity to use their own profound voice and passion to tell their story through original art, written word, or song. Their work serves as an inspiration to those who are willing to listen, whether fellow participants or policymakers.

Few programs like the Art Clinic exist within the communities from which participants come, leaving them with limited opportunities to explore their strengths and vulnerabilities. The blog posts to follow are collections of stories, testimonies, paintings, and songs created by participants in the program. They were used as vehicles to help transition each young man from being victims, to being heroes, in their own story.

Stay tuned in the weeks and months to come as we share the work of the young fathers who took part in this transformative program.