October 8, 2010 by JSOnline — A significant number of the babies born to teenage girls in Wisconsin are fathered by men over 20 years of age.
Today and Sunday, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee is teaming up with the Fatherhood Initiative at a summit to get men to talk with younger men about what it takes to be a “real father.”
The concept is simple: It takes more than creating a baby to turn someone into a man.
Young men don’t hear this message enough. Too many women are raising children by themselves and forced to be both the mother and the father to their kids.
The summit’s message is to get more young men to take responsibility for their actions and to own up to their responsibilities if they are young fathers.
Instead of an in-your-face approach, the projects will use social media and video to reach more men. The goal is to shoot and upload about 200 videos onto YouTube and Facebook.
Done right, the videos could reach more than 75,000 young people a day in Milwaukee.
In one YouTube video, Ray Nitti of Milwaukee tells the story about what it was like growing up with an abusive father.
He witnessed his father beat on his mother, and he said those images made him angry and bitter. He kept most of that anger bottled up, until he came across programs like Milwaukee’s Urban Underground and Running Rebels, which helped him to bring his feelings to the surface.
Expressing how he felt helped him to become a better man. It’s a message he wants to spread to other young men in Milwaukee.
The videos are powerful because they speak at a level young men can relate to. The topics also will include why it’s bad for older men to get involved with younger girls, the challenges of being a young father and building healthy relationships.
If these messages can reach enough young men, it might help cut the number of births to teen girls in the city.