The facilitator of a series of workshops hosted in Saint Lucia recently is advising fathers that it’s never too late to do right by their children.
Stevan Lynn, also known as Coach Lynn, who is based in New York, was in Saint Lucia from
May 24 to 29 to host several workshops aimed at equipping fathers with the skills set they need to play a better role in their children’s lives.
Lynn is CEO/Founder of Deeds Driven Dads and the Caribbean Fatherhood Coalition. His stint in Saint Lucia was to support Do-Nation Foundation in its implementation of the responsible fatherhood movement through “Father’s Rise”, an initiative aimed at elevating fathers and the roles they play in the family unit.
“It’s a comprehensive programme that involves working with fathers, father figures and future fathers on a myriad of issues: advocacy, engagement, therapeutic training, peer-to-peer counseling, and job readiness training,” Lynn explained.
“These are all aimed at uplifting and empowering men to take care of their responsibilities, the blessings of their children.”
The workshops were hosted at Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa, one of the sponsors of the initiative. Over the course of four days, the fathers who participated in the workshops shared their personal experiences and were given crucial advice on how to make things right by their children.
Visits were also made to the Stanley Jon Odlum Secondary School and the Boys’ Training
The National Team from the Gros Islet Sports Academy was also part of the motivational
Lynn said some of the common problems he recognized from the sessions included fathers not having enough knowledge of what it means and what it takes to be a responsible father. This, he said, resulted from many fathers growing up without a father figure in the home.
“They really don’t have the skills or the hands-on knowledge of what it really takes to be a
father,” Lynn said. “Fatherhood is about deeds, not words. So we’re very encouraged to be able to show them and also hear some of their own issues and steer them in the right way as far as addressing child welfare, child maintenance, and child visitation – anything to do with their children. We’re their resources, information and outlets.”
One of the highlights during the sessions was “All Rise”, where fathers were taught how to
conduct themselves and win their cases in child visitation court. The fathers participated in a series of mock trials and were assisted in preparing their cases.
Lynn said many fathers need to learn these skills if the need to have a fighting chance.
“Many of these fathers are unable to secure legal representation due to their financial situations, so they have to represent themselves,” he stated.
“It can be done, but it has to be done correctly. How they present themselves in court can decide the judgement.”
Lynn added: “The court is looking for parents who will be responsible for the child 24/7, not any parent just coming into Court for a quick fix or somebody coming in to get back at the other or get out of a child maintenance order.”
For fathers who have been absent from their children’s lives, Lynn said it’s never too late to
make up for time lost, adding that fathers must take the first step at repairing what was damaged.
“These children need you, you’re still in their conversations,” he said. “Even though you have not been there, you have been there. You cannot get away from that fact: they’re part of your DNA and your blood. It’s going to come at you one way or another. So just reach out to them through a call, a letter, or let their family know that you miss them and would like to see them.
Let them know that you need them more than they need you. Also, prepare yourself for when you do get the chance to meet them and promise yourself to always be there.”
Lynn also issued a stern warning to negligent fathers: “Nothing in your life will go right if you deny your children and continue to act like they are not there. That bloodline is going to come back and get you. It’s very powerful.”
Lynn said his organization hopes to continue supporting Do-Nation Foundation in its goals
towards uplifting people, adding that he was very encouraged and excited about working on the latest project.
“We admire their commitment and outreach strategy,” he said. “Their engagement is exactly what is needed here in Saint Lucia and we’re going to be working with them in tandem to makesure that especially marginalized families are supported.”
Meanwhile, Do-Nation Foundation’s CEO/Founder, Diane Felicien, believes the workshops
were able to achieve the main objective: to get the message out to the men that they are
important, required, and the most important persons to building a better and safer society.
The word, she said, has spread far and wide, and interest in Do-Nation Foundation’s work is growing.
“We have since been receiving an increase in calls for sessions from people in various
communities,” Felicien said. “Other persons generally want to know about the initiatives that are undertaken by Do-Nation Foundation and how they can participate.”
She also thanked sponsors Bay Gardens Resorts, Bank of Saint Lucia, Blue Waters, Definission Media, MP for Soufriere Hon. Emma Hippolyte, the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation (SRDF), and T&D Marketing and Sales Management for their contributions towards making the hosting of “Father’s Rise” a success.
Felicien said that with the workshops now over, Do-Nation Foundation will continue to keep the momentum going by partnering with other stakeholders to make the initiative a more widespread event.
“These sessions with the fathers were just a tip of the iceberg as we’re trying to collaborate with the various Government agencies and take this ‘Father’s Rise’ initiative to another level,” she stated. “We really want our men to understand their important roles in our society.”
Source: Do-Nation Foundation. Headline photo: PHOTO: Coach Stevan Lynn, left, with one of the workshop participants.