Dr. Shirley Johnson began working for civil rights at the age of 10, inspired by the example of her father and leaders such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers and Rosa Parks. As a marriage education instructor, Dr. Johnson today helps teens and young adults embrace what she calls "one of the greatest blessings human beings have been given."
Childrens’ Father’s Day Essay Finalists Highlight Vital Roles Dads Play in Lives of Inner City Youth
Father's Day essays written by elementary school children in Miami-Dade County highlight the vital role men play in the lives of their sons and daughters. Thirteen finalists share their responses to the question, "What Father's Day means to me."
T. Williard Fair, President of the Urban League of Greater Miami and Chairman of the Florida Department of Education, encourages efforts to strengthen marriages and families as the foundation for revitalizing schools, communities, and improving the well-being of children during a visit to a PAIRS relationship skills class in Liberty City.
Last Saturday, at the request of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, PAIRS Foundation began delivering relationship skills training classes to the parents of fourth and fifth graders at Liberty City Elementary School and continued yesterday with programs for the students themselves as well as the teachers, administrators, and staff who impact the youngsters’ lives each day. The weekly classes will continue over the next month. In 15 years of delivering programs that empower fathers, marriages and families, I have never seen groups so enthusiastically embrace the opportunity for learning, growth, and discovery that I witnessed in this first week with the Liberty City participants. Our collective hope is that this experience will strengthen the families of Liberty City, help more fathers stay actively, responsible engaged in the lives of their sons and daughters, and provide new opportunities for couples and families of all types to create lives in which their dreams for themselves and their children have a better chance of coming true.
While there is no one size fits all approach to reducing teen pregnancy, educational programs that focus on helping youngsters better express themselves through conversations with trusted confidants offer much promise. That’s especially so when confidants are parents and other significant adults who are able to model healthy relationship building skills.
A recent study by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation shows that helping teenagers improve communication skills, emotional understanding, and healthy conflict resolution is key to reducing teen pregnancies.