The founder of Fathers' Uplift, Charles Daniels, didn’t grow up with a father in his household. As a child, he wasn't given an explanation, and that experience fueled his life’s mission.
“I too was once that kid who blamed myself for my father’s absence. He wasn’t absent because he didn’t care about me. He was absent because he needed help,” Daniels told Yahoo Life. “We wanted to make sure that we have created an organization to give dads like my own father the help that they willingly deserve.”
In his twenties, Daniels discovered that his father made a mistake that resulted in having two families — Daniels and his mother were the outside family. His father was absent because he didn’t have the resources or tools to navigate the obstacles he was facing.
According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, 24 million children in the United States live without their dad in the home. With his organization, Fathers' Uplift, Daniels provides mental health counseling, coaching, and advocacy to assist fathers with overcoming the barriers that prevent them from remaining engaged in their children's lives.
“We have to be open to understanding why fathers are absent instead of judging them for being absent. Because the reason matters,” says Daniels. “A lot of our father’s have issues with child welfare cases where they’ve not been able to see their kids. A lot of our dads have child support issues. Homelessness, housing issues, incarceration. I mean, you know how hard it is to get a job after you’re released from incarceration? Our dads need help."
Battling the systemic issues that keep fathers from their children can feel daunting. Daniels warns that hitting roadblock after roadblock can impact mental health and create even more barriers to a father getting reunited with their child.
As Father’s day approaches, Daniels realizes that the day can be tough for men who are separated from their children, for whatever reason. He encourages those men to hold on, and focus on what matters.