Fathers on a Mission
“Growing up without my father in my life, I know first hand the struggles and neglect it can cause kids,” says Levar Robinson, Founder and President of Fathers on a Mission (FOAM). This direct experience is what propelled him to start the organization, as a way to impact fathers within our community.
FOAM was created as a result of the lack of resources available to fathers and those who serve as father figures, for those who do not have a dad there to call on, and for those who have to learn how to be a good father on their own. These experiences profoundly impacted his life and he’s now making changes for others.
One of the main goals of FOAM is to help fathers understand positive parenting and educate them on the importance of having a relationship with their children. FOAM provides open dialogue sessions called “Fatherhood: The Life of a Father Sessions.” During these events, a subject matter expert guides the conversation among the men. Additionally, these events aim to establish bonds among the group and create unique networking opportunities for them.
Robinson also saw a great need for youth mentoring in low-income areas, so FOAM launched the Tips & Ties initiative. During these sessions, FOAM members talk with youth at schools and churches. “We have empowerment dialogues focused on life skills, first impressions, career opportunities, interview skills, and self-respect,” says Robinson. “We will cover any other topic of value geared towards enhancing their greatness.” he adds.
During the last 15 minutes of these sessions, everyone in attendance receives a free tie, and they are taught how to properly tie it. According to Robinson, “The tie is very special, not because it is a nice gift, but it is a discussion tool. Someone who was not in the session will ask them where they got the necktie, and the attendee will tell them about the session.” The ties also serve as a reminder for participants. FOAM hopes each person who attends will remember something special about the session whenever they wear the tie.
In March of 2017, Levar Robinson launched the creation of FOAM, and it has exceeded his expectations. In fact, according to Robinson, the demand for the Tips & Ties sessions are greater than their capacity to do them.
For those who are interested in joining FOAM, any father or father figure can become a member. Those interested are encouraged to participate in the FOAM monthly meetings. These are held at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at The Family and Youth Service Center.
All of FOAM’s members are volunteers with full-time jobs, making it difficult to meet the demand without adequate funding.
Levar Robinson sees FOAM becoming statewide, but cautions, “We have to get the proper funding, so we can manage the demand with an office and staff.” Individual or commercial donations can be made on FOAM’s website or by mail. Additionally, there are events to help raise donations. The next event is the Celebration of Fatherhood Fishing Rodeo on Saturday, June 8. ■