There were many challenges I faced growing up without my biological father in the home after my parents divorced when I was nine months old. Frankly, it was very difficult emotionally and financially as a child being raised by a single mom. Although my dad was in my life, he lived thousands of miles away from me. There were times when I longed for my father’s love and needed him at several points in my childhood. Fortunately, there were several men who were great fathers that mentored me along my path to manhood. To this day, I’m very close with my dad and love the relationship we developed over the years, but I know I owe much of who I became to those men that stepped up to fill the father-figure gaps in my life.
Because of the impact these men had on my life and my strong commitment to attempt to break the cycles of fatherless children, I saw the Kindred Life teen dad mentoring initiative as a great way for me to bless others as I’ve been blessed. So when my good friend Tony Guagliardo invited me to work with the teen dads I was excited, but had no idea of the relationships that would develop.
I first met a young man named Jose over a year ago at the launch of the Kindred Life teen dads group at Gurnee Community Church. He saw this program as a way that he could learn how to work with his girlfriend to help raise her daughter even though he is not the biological father.
Over the last year, my relationship with Jose has continued to grow. I have met his girlfriend, Adeline, supported him when there was a death in the family, and advised him as he considered decisions about employment and insurance. Jose, who also has a church background, knows that he can contact me for anything and I’m right there for him.
While we wanted to provide a social and practical way for young dads and the boyfriends of the teen moms at Kindred Life, we soon learned that one on one mentoring would offer an easier way to connect and build a relationship than offering an outreach group. With that said, we need more men ready to support and guide our teen dads and young men who are stepping into a fathering role. Its an exciting time and we look forward to how God will use Christian men in mighty ways to reach young dads in our community who need hope and direction.
I encourage Christian men interested in mentoring a younger guy to attend our upcoming teen dad mentor training and volunteer informational meeting on Saturday, April 2nd at Our Saviour Evangelical Free Church at 9am. We hope you’ll join us.
For more information about the training taking place in Wheeling, please contact Katie at 224-280-8286 or Katie@KindredLifeMinistries.org. Thank you!