By Frank Lewis
A national effort started by an Ohio Member of Congress is offering Americans the chance to honor a father by posting a short video or written tribute on the website RaisingFathers.org.
Last year, Bill Johnson, a congressman representing eastern and southeastern Ohio, including a portion of Scioto County, began the “Raising Fathers” project, calling on Americans to do more to encourage men to be more active in their children’s lives and to promote the value of fatherhood in society. Johnson says that it was his own experiences as a son, father, and grandfather that led to this effort.
“During his lifetime, my father was infrequently home, and he struggled with alcoholism, violence, and an abusive temper,” Johnson said. “The heartbreak of absent fathers is too common a trend and I’ve tried to reverse that with my own children, and it’s time to bring more public attention to the issue. That’s the main reason I started the Raising Fathers project.”
Johnson said the problem of absentee fathers transcends socio-economic, racial, and religious demographics. He said today, one out of three children is from a single parent, typically fatherless, home. Fifty years ago, that number was one out of ten.
Johnson said that last Father’s Day, many people posted tributes to the website and he is hopeful those who want to honor fathers will continue the tradition. “A tribute can be about your own father, your husband’s role as a father, or just a father you know who deserves recognition,” Johnson said. “It’s a great Father’s Day present to let the world know how much a particular father means to you.”
Johnson posted his own video on the website and has begun to post other videos submitted by supporters of the project.
The project involves no taxpayer funds or donated money and is funded as a personal project by Johnson. “This is something that’s been weighing on my heart for many years,” Johnson said. “Our goal is not to move legislation or pass laws, but rather move people and pass the word.”
The day after Father’s Day, project organizers will randomly select one posted tribute and the person who posted it will win a $200 Amazon gift card.
There’s no cost for someone to post a video or written tribute on the website. For more information, visit www.RaisingFathers.org.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt