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May 5, 2008
Jose Alvarez is a 17-year old father with a happy one-year old daughter, Saileen. A grant from United Way of Greater New Haven’s “Project Graduation” collaboration with Sikorsky Aircraft is helping him get the support he needs to be a responsible father and plan for his family’s successful future. After involvement in the Elizabeth Cellotto Child Care Center at Wilbur Cross High School for two years, he recognizes that he is “one of the few lucky ones.”
When Jose describes the director of the FatherCare program, Rich Bryant, he says that Rich is always there to talk and as a mentor.
“He [Rich] has helped me turn a negative into a positive, which is something that I had great difficulty with when I entered the program. Since that time, I have done a complete 360. I used to find the easy way out and struggle with stress and balancing my life. I have become a completely different person, in a good way.”
Jose is not the only one who enjoys the FatherCare program. “My daughter loves to go to day care,” he said. “She walks in with a smile and leaves with a smile every day.”
When Rich talks about Jose, he could not sound more proud, “I met Jose when he came to us from Florida. His girlfriend informed him about the program, and he took it upon himself to contact us. He knew that he needed to enroll in school in Connecticut and get a job. He is a very articulate and bright young man, who just needs a little guidance. Once he has a diploma, he can do anything. I have helped several young men, and he is a shining example of motivation, talent, and understanding of what it means to be a father.”
Jose now has a savings account for his daughter and plans to go to Gateway Community College and earn his degree in automotive mechanics. Eventually, he hopes to open his own automotive shop. In the meantime, he is receiving assistance with job applications for local companies.
“More than anything, I wish that Shaileen will be able to do everything in the world… dance, sing, anything she wants,” said Jose.
The Student Parenting & Family Services was created in 1992 to respond to the large dropout rate among teen parents in high school. The FatherCare program of SPFS recently received a grant from United Way of Greater New Haven’s “Project Graduation” collaboration with Sikorsky Aircraft, designed to conquer the multiple barriers that teenage fathers face in completing their educations and becoming self-supporting. The program targets adolescent fathers who are involved in or plan to be involved in their children’s lives. The program has plans to expand, enabling a case manager to provide intensive services to 15-20 teen fathers targeting high school and post-high school success as well as child development and parenting success.
Jose Alvarez- FatherCare participant
17 years old
New Haven, CT
has a 1 year old daughter (Saileen) who attends daycare
What was life like before FatherCare?
Before I found out about the day care, I was so stressed by my relationships with my family and girlfriend. The day care supplies diapers, and so many other opportunities that are big things to us and little things to the day care.
How has the program helped you?
There’s a whole lot. It’s having someone to talk to. Rich is someone that I can look up to. He has helped me turn a negative into a positive, which is something that I had great difficulty with when I entered the program. Since that time, I have done a complete 360. I used to find the easy way out and struggle with stress and balancing my life. The whole staff has always been there for me. My daughter loves coming to the day care. She walks in with a smile and leaves with a smile every day. This is better than any other day care. I have heard from friends that their children’s experiences were nothing like my daughter’s.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I have started a savings account for my daughter. I plan to go to Gateway to get my degree in automotive mechanics. I hope to move forward as much as possible and go as far as I can. Eventually, I want to take some business classes and start my own automotive business. I hope to take my daughter out of New Haven and introduce her to bigger and better things.
The last two jobs that I held were because of Rich. He just drove me to I just dropped off an application for a new job. Wherever I have to go, he finds the time to take me. He has been helpful in every way possible.
What are your hopes for Saileen?
“I wish she could do everything in the world, dance, sing, anything she wants.”
What is your relationship like with Saileen’s mother and your family?
She graduated from high school and is in Gateway community college for forensics. They have their own place and split the parenting 50/50.
Jose’s mother lives around the corner and babysits.
Rich, is there anything you would like to add?
Rich- “I met Jose when he came to us from Florida. His girlfriend informed him about the program and he took it upon himself to contact us. He knew that he needed to enroll in school in Connecticut and get a job. He is now in the adult ed program, which he will be finishing soon. He is a very articulate and bright young man, who just needs a little guidance. He is extremely talented and knows everything about cars. He just needs to get a diploma and he can do anything. I have helped 15-16 young men, and he outshines them with his motivation, talent, and understanding of what it means to be a father.”
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