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Stay up to date with the latest Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition. We are committed to building a sustainable community coalition that champions father involvement and supports healthy adult relationships, specifically effective co-parenting which in turn provides positive outcomes for Delaware children and communities

Season of giving about cooperation for divorced parents

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

For the first time in their eight years, Megan O’Donnell’s twin girls will wake up Christmas morning at their mother’s home.

O’Donnell is like thousands of families raising children while not in a relationship with the children’s other parent.

“We have been blessed because we (her and her daughter’s father) are friends,” O’Donnell said. “But I cried tears of happiness when they decided to be here.”

The holidays are a particularly difficult time to navigate for both parents and children in such households. Parents living this lifestyle say cooperation is key during the season of giving.

In Delaware, Family Court publishes guidelines setting definitions for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as nonbinding guidelines to be used when cooperation is beyond a child’s parents.

In terms of child visitation, Christmas day actually begins at noon Dec. 25. With Christmas Eve beginning at 6 p.m. the day before.

“The contact guidelines are merely suggestions,” explained Leslie Spoltore, partner at Fox Rothschild, LLP in Wilmington and a specialist in family law. “If the matter goes to court, the court is going to hear and take evidence on what is in the best interests of the children and fashion a custody order in their best interest.”

But negotiating beyond the basic recommendation of alternating holidays isn’t easy when the emotions of child rearing and the holidays come around, parents said.

“It can suck the joy out of the holiday,” said Sharif Green, of Wilmington, who has two daughters, one 9, the other 3, with different mothers.

Green said animosity between parents can breed cruel games with the kids stuck in the middle.

“The year before last, she wouldn’t let me see my daughter. We were not getting along well and I really didn’t care to celebrate the holiday at all then,” Green said.

Beyond withholding visitation, there are sometimes mind games that pit one parent as the bad guy in the child’s eyes as a holiday approaches.

These games not only damage the parent, but also hurt the kid, according to Wade Jones, who leads the Sussex County Leadership Committee for the Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition and is a behavior health consultant for the state working in middle schools.

“You are asking the child to address grown issues and they do not have the life experience to deal with that,” Jones said. “Most children tend to personalize it with them being a direct link to the breakup. I think you have some children that are torn with not wanting the other parent to know they had too much fun at the other house.”

Jones said he sees the pressure of the holidays on children as they think about how much time will be spent with either parent. This stress manifests through depression and other signs, Jones said.

“A lot of kids are torn with the type of emotion to show to the other parent because they are fearful of hurting their feelings,” Jones observed.

Both Jones and Lillian Rogers, who administers a six-hour parenting class mandated for divorcing families by Family Court, said fostering some sort of working relationship with the other parent is key to creating the best holiday environment possible for a child.

“I ask parents to really focus on putting whatever broke up their relationship on the side,” Rogers said. “Your focus should be a ticker tape running through you head with ‘what is the best interest of my child.’ If you feel like doing something to the other parent for spite, how is it going to effect that other child?”

This may mean disregarding previous traditions or your own holiday joy for what is best for the child, Rogers said.

“I’m the oldest of 12. I can recall the joy and harmony and spirit of Christmas. That is a great experience. Would I rather her have that and open presents with brothers and sisters or open up gifts here with just me,” said Jonathan Wilson, referring to his 3-year-old daughter Talina. “Co-parenting isn’t easy. You have to evaluate your feelings and keep emotions in check.”

Most often it means biting your tongue, said Adrianna Harris, Georgetown mother raising a 5-year-old girl.

“I just bite my tongue and act like nothing is wrong,” Harris said. “It is important to me. I just don't want her to have a bad image, I don't want to make him look like a bad person.”

That can be tricky, Rogers said, recalling calling up her friends and shouting at them to vent before her ex arrived to give the kids Christmas gifts.

“When all those feelings are coming, I would go out of earshot to a phone, call a friend and say ‘don’t even respond to me’ and I would go off,” Rogers said. “So when he would come, I wouldn’t have the compulsion to do that.”

Ultimately, breaking down the barriers stopping cooperation in the parent’s relationship is key to navigating the holidays and all other times, said Wilson, who is also the executive director of Wilmington non-profit Fathership Foundation, which focuses on male parenting education and support.

It takes time, Green said noting he and the mother of his eldest daughter have built an understanding through the years. But even as the years go by and estranged lovers hearts soften, it’s still difficult.

“The hardest part: the holidays are supposed to be for families, but when you experience this type of division, it kind of diminishes the concept of family,” he said. “It goes deep. It is difficult.”

Contact Staff Writer Xerxes Wilson at (302) 324-2787 or

For more information on the Fathership Foundation visit:

For more information on the Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition visit:

Raising KINGS Weekend 2015

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Saturday, December 20, 2014

Raising KINGS Weekend 2015

Saturday January 17th

P.S. DuPont Middle School 701 W. 34th St. Wilm., DE

Register NOW !!!

New Castle County Leadership Meeting

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, December 15, 2014

December 18, 2014



WHO: Dads, Granddads, Uncles, Brothers…..MEN!  Community Agencies and Fatherhood and Family Advocates!

WHERE: Neighborhood House Inc. 1218 B Street

WHAT: This meeting we will be planning for “Family Day!”  We need All in Attendance for ideas and to form a Family Day Committee!

WHY: Together we can achieve more !



Please return information below by Tuesday, December 16 2014 to  if you plan to attend. Also please forward this email to any individual that may be interested in joining us!



Email address:__________________________________________

Phone #:_______________________________________________

Mailing address:_________________________________________

DFFC Member: YES_____________  NO_____________________

The 16th Annual National Families & Fathers Conference

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, December 01, 2014

Sheraton Gateway Hotel
6101 W. Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045

February 17-20, 2015

Held annually on the West Coast of North America the National Families & Fathers Conference is at the heart of Fathers & Families Coalition of America (FFCA). Top 5 Reasons to Attend 16th Annual National Families & Fathers Conference: 1. Opportunity for Partnerships. 2. Accelerate Learning. 3. Learn About New Trends. 4. Get Inspired. 5. The Best Ideas Come When You Least Expect It. Finally, when you look at the registration fees for this conference, you will discover it is designed to offer great opportunities at a very affordable cost. More than 80 nations have taken advantage of plenary sessions, distinguished speakers, professional development skill building sessions and FFCA special events.


CLICK For more info

First State Feeds Families in Need

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Saturday, November 29, 2014

What an Awesome Day!! On Wednesday, October 29th, First State Community Action Agency partnered with Feed The Children and Playtex Energizer to provide 800 boxes of food, toiletries and other necessities to families in need. This is the second year First State has partnered with Feed the Children and Energizer to bring relief and support Delaware families.

The distribution event took place at Playtex in Dover, Delaware. Vehicles lined up as early as 8:00 in the morning for their boxes of food, Avon Products, and toiletries. More than 50 Volunteers from partnering organizations, including officers from the Delaware State Police and Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, helped load food and toiletry boxes into their recipient vehicles.

The weather couldn't have been better—the rains held back and the sun kept its shine, giving us a magnificent, Spring-like day! And what a beautiful day it was to serve!! What a joy it was to serve! Truly those who received greatly benefitted and were most grateful.

First State wishes to thank all those who took part in this momentous effort. Thank you to all the sponsors—Feed The Children, Energizer, First State; the Mayor of Dover Robin Christiansen, and all the volunteers and supporters who made this event possible!!

Rest easy, knowing you've put a smile on a child's face and helped to ease the burden of a family in need.


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Feed The Children is an international non-profit Christian organization providing food, clothing, educational supplies, medical equipment and other necessities to needy individuals. Founded in 1979 and guided by Christian values, Feed The Children's mission is to provide hope and resources for those without life's essentials. In the U.S., Feed The Children partners with over 1,200 local agencies, including food pantries, churches, and soup kitchens, to distribute meals and necessities to more than 400,000 families nationwide. Additionally, Feed The Children supplies backpacks filled with ready-to-eat meals, toothbrushes, school supplies and age appropriate books to homeless students enrolled in public schools with the hope of providing a sense of normalcy for children. For more about Feed the Children,

New Member Training

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, November 14, 2014

New Member Training


Date: November 22, 2014


Time: 9am-12:00noon


Place: The Life Center, 2801 Lancaster Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19805


Who Should Attend:

1) Anyone that joined/attended the Delaware Devoted Dads 2014 Summit

2) Anyone that previously registered Online or manually via a DFFC Membership Form

3) Anyone that wants to learn more about what it means to be an Active Member of the Delaware Fatherhood & Family Coalition (DFFC)


Click Here to Sign-up :

What a Man Would Do: Perspectives on Fatherhood

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, November 03, 2014

What a Man Would Do: Perspectives on Fatherhood

Saturday November 8, 2014

University of Delaware Perkins Center- Gallery
325 Academy Street, Newark, Delaware

The Delaware Fatherhood & Family Coalition (DFFC) will be participating in a Panel Discussion for the Delaware Chapter of the March of Dimes & DHMI on Saturday November 8, 2014. The time for the panel discussion is from 1:00- 1:30 PM.

This is for the students and the “Preconception Peer Educator Training.” Feel free to join us if you can.

Dads gather in Wilmington to strengthen 'fathership'

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dads gather in Wilmington to strengthen 'fathership'

5th Delaware Devoted Dads Summit

Beth Miller, The News Journal 11:28 a.m. EDT October 12, 2014

WILMINGTON – Maybe a man whose father wasn't around to guide and nurture him as a kid understands better than anyone why it matters

Certainly, there were many men at the fifth annual Delaware Devoted Dads Summit in Wilmington Saturday who understood it that way.

There was Wade Jones, who never met his father.
There was James Rodriguez, who was told as a 7-year-old that he would be the man of the house because his father left, and was told the same thing when he was 12 and his father died.
There was Kasai Guthrie, a 16-year-old junior at Glasgow High School, who founded "We Need Our Fathers" because he saw the gap in his own life.
Several hundred people attended the summit Saturday at the Chase Center on Wilmington's riverfront. The two-day event was organized by the Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition.

They went to workshops on relationships, parenting, dealing with trauma, what good fathers are like, and preventing domestic violence. And they heard from speakers who get it.
Jones, now a professional counselor and working with kids in Sussex County, taught a workshop on rebuilding relationships after traumatic events. Trust, respect, and patience are critical issues.
"If a person has been victimized, traumatized or violated, a piece of them is always preparing for the next time," he said.
Jones said he had no male role models growing up at home.
"There were things I just did not know," he said. "Where I came from, if someone did something to you, you did 'X.' There were things I had to learn about being a responsible man."
Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Arizona-based Fathers & Families Coalition of America, told of his childhood path – a time in the child welfare system, time spent in gangs, and time spent as "the man of the house."
"What boy should be the man of anything?" he asked.
He recalled several things his father told him.
For example: "One day, I'm going to come back into your life." All Rodriguez could think was, "Why not today?"
Another time, he and his father were at Jones Beach in New York. The hot sand burned 2-year-old James' little feet, but his father told him he could handle it. Instead, his father carried the family dog, Angel.
"Who cries for the little boy inside of me?" he said.
Guthrie took it all in – learning things he will need as a dad.
"There are a lot of devoted dads here," he said. "They've been teaching me, even though they probably don't even know it. I've been watching them – how they talk, how they carry themselves. They've been showing me how to be a devoted dad."
With his 3-year-old daughter, Talina, sleeping in his arms, Jonathan Wilson Jr. said commitment is a key to being a devoted dad.
"We know 100 percent of children have fathers," said Wilson, who was paralyzed when he was shot by a robber in a Southbridge barber shop in 2011. "There's enough fatherhood not enough fathership. Fathership is the act or duties associated with being a committed father.... This has been a wonderful event to just be in fellowship with other men who have accepted the challenge and obligations of what God has put on our shoulders as men."
Bernard Stewart of Wilmington said he had to be a father figure to two younger brothers – even though his father lived two blocks away.
"Regardless of if you're in the home or not in the home, you've got to make that 100 percent commitment to be that devoted dad," said Stewart, whose son, Noah, will turn 1 in a few days. "To be there regardless of the ups and downs, if they need help or just need someone to tell you 'I love you.'"
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. John C. Carney Jr. both attended.
Coons said he used to live near Carney in Wilmington, when Carney was still lieutenant governor. He would see him in the park on Saturday mornings with his sons – throwing footballs, frisbees, baseballs, whatever.
"And I knew the night before he had been out late at some fire hall downstate," Coons said. "When you do the right things, you never know when your children, your spouse or your neighbors are watching. He encouraged me to get up and do the things you ought to do as a father. It's so hard when you're exhausted. But it's the right thing to do."
Many women attended the summit. Some came with their husbands, some brought their sons, some helped to lead workshops and offer their own insights into family dynamics.
"I hope this experience will help young fathers understand the importance of supporting issues of importance to women and girls as well," said Nina DeVoe, who works for the Delaware Commission For Women. "They are fathers of daughters, so domestic violence, pay equity – these issues are also their issues as well. Having them change their lives to prevent domestic violence in their own families will build strong families in the future."
This fifth summit was the first held in Wilmington.
Mary E. Polk, who works for the state and is one of the founders of the group, said there has been a hunger in Delaware to build an understanding of fatherhood and support father-friendly programs.
"We started with seven or 12 people, grew to a membership of about 300," she said. "Now we're in all three counties ... and we're doing things in the community to bring awareness and to educate. People have that gap in their soul when a parent is missing, not only as a child but all through adulthood."
The Rev. David and Bernadette Mills, co-pastors of Through The Word Church in New Castle, both grew up in homes without fathers. Now raising five teens, they want their children to see life a different way.
"Our desire is to model for our children what it looks like to have a two-parent home," Bernadette said.
Those models can be powerful signposts.
"Sometimes in society we think you can't give what you didn't have," David Mills said. "I grew up without a dad, and even though I didn't have one, there were men around in my life, people around, as well as the word of God, the church, showed me what character was, what honor was, what order was." Such qualities can be learned, practiced, and passed along.
"We want it to be known that fathers throughout the state of Delaware can be fathers for life," said Darrell V. Freeman, training director for the Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition. "Not just start it and end it, not start it and wonder 'What do I do? Where do I go? How do I make this work? You can be a father for life."
Freeman said he and the Rev. Sheldon Nix developed six steps they believe are critical to strong fatherhood – copying (being a great role model), communication (talking and listening), commitment, co-parenting, being close to your child, and coaching your child.
"These six seeds we believe will turn Delaware around."

16 Weeks Free IT Training Course

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, September 08, 2014

16 Weeks Free IT Training Course

Seeking Motivated Young Adults Who Want To Purse A Career In Technology.

ITWorks is an award-winning IT training program provided free of charge to young adults (motivated high school graduates, 18-26, who have not completed college). Over 16 weeks students earn up to two professional IT certifications and gain on-the-job experience during a five-week internship at leading corporations and nonprofits

Apply Online at

Train the Trainer Workshop

Gerald Hearne - Monday, August 25, 2014

DFFC Train the Trainer Workshop

Saturday, August 30, 2014

at the Dover Public Library 35 E. Loockerman St., Dover, DE 19901

DFFC Train the Trainer Workshop

Registration: 10:00am | Train the Trainer Workshop: 10:00am-3:00pm

Who Should Attend: Anyone that is a DFFC member, has completed the DFFC Ambassador Training (Prerequisite) and is committed to training others to be DFFC Ambassadors.

About DFFC

The Delaware Fatherhood & Family Coalition is an extension of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative created specifically to give a voice to fathers and the importance of their involvement for the well-being of their children.

Learn more

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