Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Stronger Washington

Over the past three years, I submitted “Father’s Day” columns to the local newspapers. Below, please find the past three columns.

A Father’s Day Pledge: Never Be Too Busy to Read With Your Children

Every Father’s Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the kind of father we are and the kind of father we want to be. One pledge I am making to myself and my children, and I challenge other fathers to make, is reading with their children daily. 

Less than half of pre-kindergarten children are read to daily, despite the fact that we know the greatest amount of brain growth occurs between birth and age five. By age three, 85% of the brain’s core structure is formed.

Unfortunately, the majority of our attention and financial investments are made in the traditional education years of K-12. Until that changes, it’s necessary for all parents to participate in reading with our children and advocate greater investments in early learning. One key to a successful academic career starts with a strong foundation prior to kindergarten.

Pre-kindergarten children who are read to have a much larger vocabulary, better recognition of sentence structure, and greater ability to identify letters and numbers entering school. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who read 20 minutes a day at home are likely to score better than 90% of their peers; reading five minutes a day is likely to help them score better than 50%; and reading one minute a day is likely to help them to score better than 10% of their fellow students.

In our community, . . READ MORE

Peter Abbarno, letter to the editor, The Daily Chronicle, June 14, 2019.

Fathers: Creating Memories Can Change a Community.

On Sunday, fathers, stepfathers, and father figures will be celebrated and honored for their contribution to our families and our community. 

The holiday for celebrating fathers in the United States has strong roots in the State of Washington, with many crediting the holiday’s origin to a June 19, 1910 celebration held at the YMCA in Spokane. Although many fathers will be receiving gifts this year (thanks for the tie), I urge fathers to give of themselves, create lasting memories, and change our community for the better.

Every father is bestowed with an immense responsibility; to be a positive role model to their sons and daughters. Why is this so important? More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. The U.S Census Bureau found that children in father-absent homes are almost four-times more likely to live in poverty — with 44 percent of children in fatherless families living in poverty.

According to “What Can the Federal Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?” a document created by the U.S. Department of Justice, children from fatherless homes accounted for staggering statistics including 63 percent of youth suicides, 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders, 71 percent of all high school dropouts, 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions and 75 percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers. . . READ MORE

Peter Abbarno, letter to the editor, The Daily Chronicle, June 15, 2018

Calling All Male Role Models — Our Children Need Your Help!

As a father of a 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, I am saddened by recent news reports of sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and assaults especially, between authority figures and subordinates. 

Gender discrimination and behavior can and does come from both men and women; however, it’s tough to deny that men perpetrate the majority of these cases. That is why I am asking fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and other positive male role models to participate in your local WATCH D.O.G.S. program (Dads Of Great Students).

As an attorney, I love helping my clients, and as a member of the Centralia City Council, I love helping my community. However, nothing is more important to me than being a good father and positive role model for my children. I believe that children can be taught to respect each other regardless of gender. I also believe children can learn respect through witnessing positive role models, especially positive male role models. This is why I joined WATCH D.O.G.S.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 24 million children, that’s one out of three, live without their biological father in the home. Approximately 57.6 percent of African-American children, 31.2 percent of Hispanic children and 20.7 of caucasian children are living without their biological fathers. 

Most Americans agree with me that this is a problem, because 72.2 percent of the U.S. population said fatherlessness is among the most significant family or social problem facing America. . . READ MORE

Peter Abbarno, guest commentary, The Daily Chronicle, October 20, 2017
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