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PAPÁS is part of a study funded by the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention researching the best ways to help fathers participate in their families and communities PAPÁS started recruiting families in Watsonville in August 2003, out of La Manzana Community Resource Center. Since then we've teamed up with Live Oak Family Resource Center, Mountain Community Resource Center, Davenport Family Resource Center and the Beach Flats Community Resource Center to open the study up to families living in both side of Santa Cruz County.

Research shows that when dads or other father figures participate in children’s lives those kids do better in school, have less legal troubles, better problem-solving skills and reduced teen pregnancy among many other positive outcomes. In addition, fathers report more satisfaction at work, greater self-esteem and better overall health. Traditionally organizations have, consciously or not, aimed their services at mothers. PAPÁS hopes to change the culture in Family Resource Centers so that dads feel more welcome and are recognized as equally important members of the community and their families.

Supporting Father Involvement Study was created in response to the concerns of The California Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP) as they researched the effect of specifically designed interventions to support father involvement and to examine the “father friendliness” of social service organizations serving children and their families. During the course of the research study that was initiated in 2003 five California counties participated by implementing a “Supporting Father Involvement” curriculum designed by research teams from Yale University and the U.C .Berkley. The curriculum, which is available in both English and Spanish, provides a 16 week facilitated workshop for participating fathers and their partners. In addition, each family is provided extensive assessments and follow-up case management. Now in its fifth year, the original initiative is in the final stages and individual programs are seeking opportunities to sustain services for the future. Funding has been secured through July 2009. PAPÁS is submitting a proposal to the National Fatherhood Initiative for a capacity the grant that will facilitate our organizational capacity in seeking sustainability and encourage greater community awareness to the importance of programs that promote responsible fathering.

At the current time PAPÁS has a staff of six; two team leaders, a project director, two case managers and a part-time clerical position. Two types of intervention groups are provided – a father’s group and a couples group – each meeting for 2 hours per week for 16 weeks. The group team leaders, both with Master’s Degrees, provide weekly group sessions that included structured discussion, didactic segments, and exercises focusing on one of the five domains in the conceptual model. The intervention design and the specific intervention curricula are based on a well researched conceptual model that identifies a number of risk and protective actors associated with fathers’ involvement. These factors include fathers’ (1) individual adjustment (self-esteem, depression, anxiety), (2) relationship with the mother of the child (quality of relationship with his co-parent, (3) skills and confidence as a part, (4) three-generational family patterns, and (5) stresses on the family including those from work (or lack of it), supports (or lack of them), and family-related policies.

PAPÁS currently recruits men who are:

  • Married and living with the child’s mother, or
  • Cohabiting with the child's mother, or
  • Romantically involved but not cohabiting with the child’s mother, or
  • Not romantically involved or living with the child’s mother but co-parenting with the child’s mother

We would like to expand this group and use the capacity building grant to assist us in developing the potential to provide services to teen fathers, incarcerated fathers and grandfathers. PAPÁS will target expectant fathers and fathers with at least one child under 3 as a priority based on the fact that research clearly demonstrates the earlier an intervention occurs the more likely sustained behavioral changes will be evident.

PAPÁS is located in Santa Cruz County California – one of the smallest counties in the State. The economy is primary driven by agriculture and tourism, both of which offer low paying jobs with few benefits and are often cyclical in nature. According to the 2000 Census, Latinos made up 26.8% of the county’s population, Whites 65.5%, and all other ethnicities 7.7%. PAPÁS client demographic is primarily lower income families and over 50% are Hispanic. Men are often recruited from the Family Resource Centers located in both Watsonville and Santa Cruz or from the other social service partners in the County.

PAPÁS started recruiting families in Watsonville in January 2004, out of La Manzana Community Resource Center. Since then we've teamed up with Live Oak Family Resource Center, Mountain Community Resource Center, Davenport Family Resource Center and the Beach Flats Community Resource Center to open the study up to families living in North County.
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What is new at PAPÁS
Activity Calendar
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101 Fathers and Father-figures
100 Men who Care about our Community
Father Daughter Dance
Impact of absent fatherhood on children
Research Study
Fatherhood Award
Father's Day Event
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PAPÁS in the News
Hands on Fatherhood
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Fathering Tips
Balancing Work and Family
Being a Better Dad
Helping Your Kids with School
101 Fathers and Father-figures speak
1. Name: Bill Monning
2. Occupation: California State Assembly member
3. How many children do you have or you are father-figure for? 2 daughters
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood represents one of life's greatest joys and one of life's most humbling responsibilities. I feel incredibly fortunate to have 2, healthy, adult daughters with whom I enjoy a very close and mutually supportive relationship.
5. What is the best part of being a father or father figure?
The joy of watching a child grow from infancy and dependence to adulthood and independence.
6. What is the challenging part of being a father or father figure?
Realizing that a father or father figure is a role model 24/7 - all the time. As human beings we manifest our frailties and it is important that children see how we deal with disappointment, challenges, loss, and life as well as how we display love, joy, and the fulfillment in giving to others.
7. What advice do you have for fathers or father figures in our community?
Realize that you have not only a tremendous responsibility, but also a gift to teach and learn from your children. By being mindful of presenting a strong role model, children can help us to become better individuals and better members of our communities.
1. Name: Greg Caput
2. Occupation: Santa Cruz County Supervise, District 4
3. How many children do you have? 3
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood means raising children into the world and providing them with safety, protection, guidance and most importantly love. As a father, I hope to give my children security in their selves and the confidence and fortitude to enter the world capable and productively.
5. What is the best part of being a father or father figure?
The best part of being a father is all the smiles and hugs. Seeing my children being happy and well cared for gives me happiness that I lived most of my life not knowing. I also love that I am able to teach them all the values and morals that I myself was taught and instill in them notions of charity and hard work. It's a great joy to incorporate them into the many traditions I was introduced to and I have learned and shared some new traditions with them as well
6. What advice do you have for fathers or father figures in our community?
The advice I would give to fathers is to love the most when loving is the hardest. Concentrate more on controlling your own emotions as opposed to those of your child and in doing so your child will find comfort and grow confidence in you. Make sure that your child always knows that they are loved.
1. Name: Neal Coonerty
2. Occupation: Santa Cruz County Supervise, District 3
3. How many children to you have? 2 - son Ryan Coonerty & daughter Casey Coonerty Protti
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
I love being a Dad. As a father I was able to insure my children had a childhood filled with love, family and community. I was able to share my childrens' lives as they discovered the world. I was able to show them my values while watching them become the strong individuals with their own values. Being a Dad is the best thing in the whole wide world.
5. What is the best part of being a father or father figure?
At this point in my life, the best part about being a father may be that it leads to an opportunity to be a Grandpa. I now have 2 grandchildren, Claire, age 3, and Devin, 10 months. They both live in Santa Cruz and they are a joy to spoil. When their parents need a bit of a break, my wife and I love to spend some time with our grandkids and go to the park, take a walk or read a book together.
1. Name: John Leopold
2. Occupation: Santa Cruz County Supervise, District 1
3. How many children? Two girls, Rose, 16 and Ana, 11
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood means a chance to share the world and its wonderful experiences with my daughters and to help train the next generation to care for this community and the planet.
5. What is the best part of being a father or father-figure?
The best part of being a father for me is the opportunity to share a loving relationship with my daughters that helps us all live and learn and grow together. I enjoy sharing experiences with my daughters that builds a mutual appreciation for all that is around us. I enjoy being able to introduce them to new ideas, experiences and adventures. From tide pooling together, to dancing together to watching a baseball game together, we get to build a shared experience that wraps our lives into a whole family.
6. What advice do you have for fathers or father-figures in our community?
Don't let anyone else define your experience with your children. Be open to new experiences and look for opportunities to build a shared history with your children. The time that you spend with your children is precious so don't waste any of it. Live it, love it, and you'll remember it always!
1. Name: Mark Stone
2. Occupation: Santa Cruz County Supervise, District 5
3. How many children do you have? Two, Melissa (19) and Byron (16)
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood is a blessing and an obligation. In my life, there has been no greater blessing than watching my children grow into young adults. I am so proud to see them use lessons that I have taught them and equally proud to see them learn for themselves. The obligation is both to them and to my wife Kathy. Kids need to make their own mistakes and the best that we can do is to give them the tools to learn from those mistakes and, hopefully, avoid some of the mistakes that we made. My obligation to my wife is to share the burden, be a partner in the marriage and model for our children how a family works together and supports each member in their own endeavors.
5. What is the best part of being a father or father figure?
The best part has been watching my children grow and mature, each becoming their own person. I have tried to give them a strong foundation from which they can grow in their own ways. The more confidence that they have in that foundation, the further they will go of their own accord.
6. What is the challenging part of being a father or father figure?
The hardest part has been watching my children when they are sick, hurt or upset. I cannot always solve their problems, nor should I. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing one of my children suffer any injury or hurt.
7. What advice do you have for fathers or father figures in our community?
We each need to learn to let go, though not all at once. We need to trust the tools that we give our children to take them on their own journey. The more that we trust in those lessons and we trust and respect them, the closer our ties will be in the future.
1. Name: Brian King
2. Occupation: President, Cabrillo College
Don't let anyone else define your experience with your children. Be open to new experiences and look for opportunities to build a shared history with your children. The time that you spend with your children is precious so don't waste any of it. Live it, love it, and you'll remember it always!
3. How many children do you have? Two, ten-year old daughter, Celia, and a nine-year old son, Christian.
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
Being a father is the most important role in my life right now. It is incredibly satisfying to watch my children grow and mature, and to model the kind of behavior and attitudes I expect from them. Kids are great at spotting hypocrisy, so it makes me even more aware that my words and actions need to be consistent.
5. What is the best part of being a father or father figure?
Someone said we teach what we are learning ourselves. The best part of being a father is having the blessing and responsibility of teaching my kids how be healthy, happy, helpful little people. In the process of being a parent, I learn so much from the children about life and how to remain curious and excited about life. Before my wife Cristina and I had our two kids, I always thought it would be fun to be a father. The reality of being a father has been even more challenging and rewarding than I could have imagined.
1. Name: Michael C. Watkins
2. Occupation: Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools
3. How many children do you have? 2
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood means many things me to; it is very hard to encapsulate those thoughts into just a few sentences, but I will try. First of all it means responsibility. Once one embarks on the journey of parenthood it is a commitment for life, especially in the early and formative years when a child is so dependent on a parent. It is love, understanding and patience. It is giving without expecting something in return. And fatherhood should be viewed as a wonder not a duty or chore. There is no more important job on the planet than being the best father that one can possibly be.
1. Name: David Terrazas
2. Occupation: Santa Cruz City Council member
3. How many children do you have? Three - Two daughters and a son.
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood means taking an active, involved and fully engaged role in the lives of your children. Helping them to learn to express themselves as individuals while they are young and to strengthen the foundation for them to fully realize their potential as they become young adults.
5. What is the best part of being a father or father figure?
Watching the kids grow as they experience the world and all of its wonders for the first time.
6. What is the challenging part of being a father or father figure?
Fatherhood is a full-time job no matter what else is happening in your life. How we communicate and respond during the tough times, expressing positive ways to deal with conflict or challenges, models important behavior for kids to learn early on and to practice throughout life. Being patient and learning from your children helps to strengthen relationships and to encourage open communication.
7. What advice do you have for fathers or father figures in our community?
Being a father is one of the greatest challenges and most incredibly rewarding experiences in life.Take the time to enjoy your children and their interests. Being a strong role model for your kids means sharing with them all of the joys and challenges of life. Building a strong parental relationship requires participation.
1. Name: Manny Solano
2. Occupation: Chief of Police
3. How many children do you have? 3 sons
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
Being a father I've found is much more than just providing for their basic needs, it pointing them in the right direction, toward a worthwhile goal, and then, standing back and acting as their coach and cheerleader
5. What advice do you have for fathers or father figures in our community?
Understand what motivates and interest each individual child and then make time to show them you care by planning a fun activity free of distractions like cell phones and email. Spending quality time with dad is more precious than any gift you can buy
1. Name: Ryan Coonerty
2. Occupation: Former Mayor, City of Santa Cruz
3. How many children do you have? One on the way in September
4. What does fatherhood mean to you?
I'm just on the verge of becoming a father, so right now the prospect of fatherhood is pure excitement. I can't wait to be a father with all of the responsibilities, joy and adventures that come with it.
5. What is the best part of being a father or father figure?
I look forward to the chance to discover the world again through my daughter's eyes.
6. What is the challenging part of being a father or father figure?
It will be making sure that I set everything aside and give my full attention to this person who is counting on me... and a lack of sleep.
7. What advice do you have for fathers or father figures in our community?
This community is extraordinary. We have unparalleled natural beauty, a tremendous sense of community, and thriving arts and culture. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to be raised in Santa Cruz. Give your children a chance to experience all that this community has to offer and they will be better people.
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225 Westridge Dr. Watsonville, CA 95076
Phone: 831-763-3123   Fax: 831-724-3534