Learning from Our Fathers

June 15, 2012

Image courtesy of ChrisGoldNY/Flickr

Reflections on What It Means to Be a Father in Brooklyn Today
This week, we recognize all the Brooklyn fathers who are setting a positive example for their children by helping make our borough a better home for all. They know that being a good dad means being a good neighbor, a good coach, a good volunteer. 

They also know how to give some good advice.

In honor of Father’s Day, we’ve asked a few Brooklyn dads working in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to share their words of wisdom and tell us what they’ve learned from fatherhood and why they’ve chosen Brooklyn as the place to raise their families.

“As I grew up in Sheepshead Bay Projects (public housing), I experienced firsthand of how difficult it can be for a father to provide and support his family. My father always taught me to be thankful to God and always help others. As I became a successful businessman, I started to give back. I formed the Council of Peoples Organization (COPO) and was able to help over 15,000 people in Brooklyn. The ecstasy of helping others is priceless. I asked my children to volunteer at COPO and follow my father’s teachings. Thankfully my children listened, and every now and then they tell me how they helped someone. Those are the moments a father lives for. I just sit back, thank God, and smile. All good things start out in Brooklyn. There is something about it that makes us do good right here.”

- Mohammad Razvi

Executive Director, Council of Peoples Organization

“I love Fathers Day and I love Brooklyn. I love that my grandfather raised his children and started the family business in Brooklyn. I love that my father kept and grew the business in Brooklyn. I love that I can run that same business with my brother and brother-in-law, who are both fathers themselves. I love the thought that my children, nieces, nephews, and their cousins may one day be part of our Brooklyn business. For me, Fathers Day and Brooklyn are very much intertwined. Happy Father's Day!”
- Steven Eisenstadt
Cumberland Packing Corporation

“Fathers play a profoundly important role in the lives of children. I see the effects of what happens to children who are raised without fathers. I was raised without a father in my life. Even today, I miss what I never had—a father. I encourage all men to be actively engaged in the lives of their children, and to serve as role models and mentors for children without fathers. Having positive men in my life is what sustains me to this day.”
- Bernard Gassaway
Principal, Boys and Girls High School
"Although I am a relative newcomer to Brooklyn—I moved here only 8 years ago—I am more rooted here than I have been anywhere else I have lived.  It is a place of true community.  As such, it is a wonderful place to bring a child into the world and to be a father.  We are surrounded by ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’ on and off the block, with folks constantly offering to lend a hand.  Given the tremendous responsibility of being a father, of having someone so dependent upon me for everything, it is nice to have the support of the community in this transformational phase of life. And in some ways the experience of living in Brooklyn broadly mirrors that of being a father; in both cases at times I am acutely conscious of infinite possibilities in the future and at others incredibly rooted in just this one moment."
- Tokumbo Shobowale
Economic Development, NYC Mayor’s Office

"My wife and I just gave birth to our first child in January. We are absolutely amazed and feel so fortunate by how much Brooklyn has to offer our new family. As a new dad, it is extremely important to me that the borough continues to stay strong, provide excellent educational opportunities, and nurture a safe and fertile environment for young children."      
- Alex Villari
Nonprofit Fundraiser

What’s the best advice you've received
from a Brooklyn dad?

Share it at Facebook.com/DoGoodBklyn or tweet us at @DoGoodBklyn!


In celebration of all the dads
making a difference in our borough,

this Father’s Day consider a gift to the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Your contribution will help us collectively achieve a better Brooklyn for all.


What's "Good" in Brooklyn

Here are a few highlights of news and events we’ve shared with our followers this week. Don’t miss a thing! Like us at Facebook.com/DoGoodBklyn and follow us at Twitter.com/DoGoodBklyn.

100 Ways to Do Good Right Here
Love Brooklyn? Prove it! Sign up now at DoGoodRightHere.org to become a Brooklyn volunteer. Nearly 100 Brooklyn-serving nonprofits have positions that need to be filled. Volunteer for a day or make a longer commitment. Whatever you can do, do it in Brooklyn to make our communities stronger!

Father’s Day at Brooklyn Navy Yard
Our grantee BLDG92 is presenting a special 2-hour bike tour of the Navy Yard this Sunday for Father’s Day. Take your dad and learn about the historically rich site that’s on the cutting-edge of sustainable industry. More info here. And while you’re there, check out the new Employment Center that’s connecting local residents with jobs at the yard!

Father’s Day Jazz
MoCADA presents a free performance by jazz legend Randy Weston and the African Rhythms Trio. Bring dad to this special celebration, which also features House of Waters and Jeff King Quartet. 3pm – 6pm at the Walt Whitman Houses’ Basketball Court in Fort Greene. Details.