FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 24, 2013) – In partnership with the Lee County Housing Authority, Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County and Lee County Black History Society, the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers will host its 3rd Annual Father’s Day Event on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Clemente Park located at 1936 Henderson Avenue in Fort Myers.

This year’s Father’s Day Event will be filled with a variety of fun and entertainment for the entire family including a BBQ cook-off, a youth basketball tournament, youth games, live entertainment, an essay contest and more. All children interested in playing in the youth basketball tournament must be between 8 and 13 years old and register to participate.

The HACFM will be combining its Father’s Day festivities and the Lee County Black History Society’s ‘Juneteenth’ celebrations all into one event.

As part of President Obama’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, the HACFM’s annual Father’s Day Event is a nationwide day of events encouraged by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative partners with the Administration for Children and Families, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, fathers, mothers, family-serving organizations and other leaders from across the country who wish to be positive role models and mentors for the children in their lives and communities.

“It is the goal of the HACFM and LCHA to encourage all fathers, especially absent fathers, to become a strong and vital part of their children’s lives,” said Marcus D. Goodson, executive director of the HACFM. “We hope to inspire and encourage our fathers to be a positive role model for their children by providing an atmosphere of love, support and entertainment during the Father’s Day weekend and for the rest of their lives. It is our belief that with a strong family unit in place, children will thrive and become an instrumental part of the communities in which they live.”

According to HUD, the majority of public-housing households with children are headed by single women who earn less than $9,000 annually. However, according to statistics drawn from communities across the country, children raised in absent-father families are more at risk for a host of negative factors, including dropping out of school. The focus on Father’s Day is meant to be a starting point—either a celebration of existing relationships or a reason to form first connections.

Federal partners of this year’s Father’s Day Event include the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice.

To date, nearly 200 housing authorities in 33 states will participate in Father’s Day 2013 and are partnering with other organizations including the NFL, NBA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Legal Services Corporation and the National Fatherhood Initiative, an organization created in 1993 to raise awareness of the importance of fathers. Together, these groups are delivering a clear message: America needs dads.

According to U.S. Census data, 24 million American children live in a home without a father. Also, NFI said children in homes without a father are five times more likely to be poor and more likely to drop out of school or be incarcerated.

“We are so appreciative to the community businesses that have joined us in supporting this initiative,” said Twaski Jackson, director of client services for the HACFM. “Every night, one-out-of-three children go to bed in a home without a father. These events will bring fathers and their children together and connect the dads to the social and economic resources they need to be the best parents possible including job training, health screenings and education opportunities.”

Currently, the HACFM serves more than 3,500 low-income families throughout the greater Fort Myers community. The HACFM provides high quality, stable and sustainable housing and related services to people in need. In addition, the staff works diligently in providing programs such as Resident Services/Family Self-Sufficiency and HOPE VI Community Supportive Services. The goal is to help families become self-sufficient, therefore strengthening the communities that use public and private resources efficiently and effectively.

The HACFM serves as a catalyst for increasing access to safe, affordable housing, and helping develop, preserve and revitalize communities through affordable rental housing. The agency is dedicated to empowering families with the means to become as self-sufficient as possible, encouraging and facilitating movement toward financial independence beyond the need for HACFM services, while recognizing the needs and limitations of the mentally and physically disabled, aged and infirmed.

Sponsorships are now available from $500 to $5,000. For more information or to become an event sponsor, please contact Twaski Jackson, director of client services for HACFM at 239-332-3825, ext. 305. For more information about the individual events, please contact Noemi Jimenez at 239-332-3825.