By: Carl Smith-Hunnicutt, Morning Program Coordinator & Development Associate
Leading up to Father’s Day here in the US, many of us think about spending this special day with our fathers, family and friends, celebrating the importance of what it means to be a father. For many of the men who come through our doors every day, this simply isn’t a possibility. “I haven’t seen my kids in over 10 years,” Rafael disclosed with tears welling up in his eyes.
Many Thrive DC clients, like Rafael, come from various Central American countries, leaving behind family and a modest life in hopes of pursuing the “American Dream.” Once in an unfamiliar culture, facing language barriers and legal battles, some Latino men find that they have nowhere to turn. Their relationships with family members become strained when months of separation turn to years and the promise of a better life remains unrealized.
Rafael started coming to Thrive DC when this became the case for him. He didn’t have resources for food to eat much less a home of his own. At Thrive DC, Rafael is able to get a warm, nutritious meal five days a week, take a hot shower and wash his clothes. We are also able to connect Rafael and hundreds more people in need to an array of services that include legal aid, health care, mail, phone and Internet access, and therapeutic and enrichment activities.
Whether disconnected from family far away or in the United States, Thrive DC offers our clients a warm and welcoming environment – a place where painful memories can be left at the door and where positive encouragement and professional support can help individuals take steps toward a more hopeful and productive life.
This Father’s Day we hope you’ll join us in wishing the very best to Rafael and all the fathers who come to Thrive DC. If you would like to honor a father in your life in a truly meaningful way, please consider the gift of an item on our Wish List such as razors, shaving cream, deodorant, toothpaste or socks that will help a father in need.
*In order to protect privacy the name in this article has been changed.