Needed and wanted
Juliana D. Norwood | 3/31/2010, 5 p.m.
William D. Denson's organization, A Father Forever which stresses the importance of fathers in every family unit and in society, began in 1999, when he had a "calling from above" to create a documentary called "Fathers. I-V."
The film was a five-part series of half-hour programs on public access television discussing the importance of fatherhood.
In the documentary, Denson asked men, women and children of all nationalities and backgrounds what a father meant to them, and as the answers poured in, the organization began to take form. The documentary was even nominated for an award by the Roy Dean Scholarship Fund for Documentaries.
Denson's inspiration also came from spending so much time with children. He has been a basketball coach, a mentor and teacher, and always noticed how so many youngsters get dropped off by single mothers. As a grandfather, father and uncle himself, Denson has dedicated his life to, and is on a life-long crusade to help fathers become productive and responsible men in the lives of their children.
As part of his mission, in 2004, Denson rode a bicycle from the Santa Monica Pier to the White House stopping at prisons, churches and homes along the way to spread the message about the importance of fatherhood. That ride has laid the groundwork for Denson's new up-and-coming documentary
"One Father's Journey" which was scheduled to release last year but has been delayed because of funding.
Through interviews and research Denson began to see that a lot of the problems existing in many families were in direct correlation to the absence of fathers in the home. In order to combat some of theses societal ills, A Father Forever began to encourage dads to accept their responsibilities and become positive forces in their children's lives.
"Men don't talk like women do. Women talk and cry and express themselves regularly, and men don't. When you ask a man how he is feeling, he will say that he is fine, even if he isn't. We don't talk enough. Men need to know that sometimes it's okay to cry," explained Denson.
The activist also wants to let fathers know, "There is no problem that you are going through, that another father hasn't already experienced. You are not alone."
In addition to Denson, A Father Forever had a dedicated group of volunteer board members: Wayne Williams, Joe Tatum, Barry Hargress, Janet Denson, and another group of 17 children and adult volunteers who help out at all events.
Among the work A Father Forever does is strengthening families, providing a safe, positive and loving haven for learning, and assisting fathers with the reconciliation stages with their children and families.
To provide fathers with opportunities to bond and spend time with their children, the group also hosts an annual Father/Father Figure Child Golf Tournaments at Jessie Owens Park. The teams each play one 9-hole round of golf, and the event is free and food will be provided.
This year the event will be held April 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. Interested participants must register in advance.
This summer, A Father Forever will also hold a Father/Father Figure and Child Canoe and BBQ at Redondo Beach.
"We want to create Kodak moments; we want to hold events that families will remember forever," said Denson.
A Father Forever has touched the lives of more than 200 families and is always looking for more volunteers and sponsors so they will have the funding to continue holding free events for the community, and helping fathers strengthen relationships with their children.
If you are interesting in joining A Father Forever or helping out in any way, contact Denson at (323) 810-1952.