The White House Office of Public Engagement and Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships honors 10 individuals who are doing tremendous work in the fields of fatherhood and low-income men and boys. Because of his work in this field Carey Casey is being recognized as a Champion of Change.
I am honored to be recognized as a White House Champion of Change. But trust me, whatever honor I receive is not because I'm so great or wonderful. It's really because of God, my dad, and my family. Those are the factors that have made me who I am. As I often say, I’m literally living out my dream as CEO at the National Center for Fathering because of the people I work with and what I get to do.
I mentioned that my father was a huge influence in my life. He cared for me, but also for the broader culture. He was there in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared, "I have a dream." I remember my dad's excitement when he returned home. When I later studied the speech for myself, I said to my dad, "I wish I could have been a grown-up back when all that was happening with civil rights." But my dad said, "No, Son, you're going to be part of something even greater."
Today I can see that he was right. I'm honored to be in a leadership role taking on a crisis in America that affects people of every race, no matter their economic or social status, whether they live in the inner cities, the suburbs, or out in the country. It's a fatherhood crisis. There are 25 million children in America who don't live with their fathers, and we know a good number of those rarely or never see their dads. What may be even more disheartening is that the 25 million doesn't include even more dads who do live with their children, but are emotionally and relationally distant or absent. And just a quick look at the research will show you that fatherlessness comes with tragic, negative consequences for children and for our society. It’s reaching epidemic proportions in our country.
Dads are a critical part of the solution, but we have to get involved. For the sake of our children, our grandchildren and millions of other kids, we need to make a commitment to live out the research-based fundamentals that we call Championship Fathering: loving our children, coaching our children, modeling for our children, encouraging other children, and enlisting other men to join the team.
I only wish my Pop could be here today to see what's happening, because we’re working to change the culture, to see a nation where no child goes unfathered, where every child has a father or father figure he can count on—someone who is that child’s number one source of encouragement, who plays a major role in helping the child attain his dreams. Together, we can truly make a difference in families, our nation and our world.
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering.