As many families attended the New Milford Teddy Bear Festival on June 1st, we noticed that there were a lot of fathers present with their children. Our team knew that this would be the perfect event to ask dads to share their stories on what it’s like to be a father, or to ask them to share stories they have about their father. What we found was that there were many dads at this event who were inspired by their father to be a great dad for their children. We encouraged families to share information about the Connecticut Fatherhood Initiative with those that they felt might need help.

The reception to our mission and project at this event was welcomed with open arms as we also met with New Milford’s volunteer fatherhood coordinator Joel Levitt. Joel, a grandfather, is the author of the book “The Tree of Lives” where he details his research into his family history. He is also the founder of ‘Grandparents Circle’ in New Milford where he offers classes to grandparents to help them better understand their role in the family. Mr. Levitt was extremely excited to see us at the festival and rushed to our booth to talk with us. He explained to us that his most recent fatherhood outreach effort included bringing 9 Palestinian fathers together at a local mosque. The goal was to help them become a more integral part of their children’s lives by limiting their children’s access to technology and social media.

As the event came to a close, we saw many happy faces as Smokey Bear showed up. It is of course his 75th birthday this year, so seeing him at a teddy bear festival to bring awareness to forest fires was a great idea. Although we didn’t hear of any dads share stories about being a logger or anyone in their family having the same profession, we would like to personally thank all of the fathers who help make the forests of Connecticut and America safe and secure to walk or travel in.

The next stop for the Dear Dad Tour will be an unannounced location in New Haven, Connecticut. Be sure to check our website and social media channels frequently to know the date, time and venue!