Building a Father Figure Community

We sat down with Charlie Cervantes, IHSD Family Service & Father Engagement Specialist, to talk about his work in building a father figure community.


IHSD: First off, how did you start working for IHSD?

Charlie: I started working in 2001 through Child Care Careers as an aid. I started as an aid for about a year and then became a permanent employee in 2002 as an assistant teacher. I worked my way through Fair Oaks, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, East Palo Alto, Home Based program and was a home visitor for seven years. In 2015, I became a family advocate for our East Palo Alto site and help father engagement.

IHSD: What can you tell us about the father figure cafés?

Charlie: A father figure café is a physically and emotionally safe space where father figures talk about the challenges and victories of raising a family. They explore their strengths, learn about the five protective factors, and create strategies from their own wisdom and experience to help strengthen their families.

We wanted to make dads feel welcomed and create a warm inviting environment.

IHSD: What is the goal of the father figure cafés?

Charlie: Father figures leave our father figure cafés feeling inspired, energized and excited to put into practice what they learned. The goal of the father figure cafés is to create an intimate environment where father figures can share and support each other as a strategy for strengthening families.Read more