Fathers Lift Children


We invite all our supporters to help us move our Programs and Advocacy to greater heights in partnership with the community. Your donations matter, your support of more father engagement in children’s lives makes a positive and long-lasting difference for children. Thousands of fathers, children and families have been served because of your generous donations. 

  • The Fatherhood Reading Squad Program
  • Fathers in Education Day and Fathers in Action & Advocacy Week
  • The Best Practices of Fatherhood for High School Students
  • Advocacy Outreach on Paternal Health and Paternity Leave 

November Honorees:

Kacey Merchant, Corey Patterson, Jerry Rateau and Frantz Theodore
Four Great Fathers with Children 2-14

The Fatherhood Task Force honors and gives thanks to four deeply committed fathers actively raising the bar for Father involvement in the school system.

Kacey Merchant

Corey Patterson

Jerry Rateau

Frantz Theodoore

Supt. Alberto Carvalho & Holly Zwerling

At the invitation of M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, these four Fathers were the key presenters during a Zoom meeting. Superintendent Carvalho and school administrators discussed parental, social and racial justice issues as they affect children. Superintendent Carvalho has given his ongoing support to the work of The Fatherhood Task Force. 

The Fathers’ major points made during the meeting were: Literacy is the number one equalizer in all facets of life; Every child who faces academic challenges needs to be treated respectfully with what they present upon entering school; and every child should be recognized for their growth potential and provided social and emotional support to experience school success. 

Another point of discussion was that administrators, teachers, and security staff should actively exercise their training and knowledge of behavior, set good examples on how to talk to children, and practice patience and caring interventions when working with children and parents. Parents  should also learn how to connect with their child and foster social emotional well-being.

It was pointed out that Fathers should and need to be present in the school and respond to their children’s concerns. Fathers’ presence and engagement impact on children’s safety and how children behave towards each other. They encourage fathers to go to  PTA meetings and school board meetings, meet with their child’s teacher, specifically ask how they would deal with certain situations and conflicts in their classrooms and ways the school offers teacher support. 

During the discussion they examined how school culture reflects safety and equality; how often kids are complimented and work together, how children interact and relate to each other and how that gets played out in school so all kids feel they are judged and treated fairly. 

These fathers would like to see schools working for the greater good of each child and the community as a whole. It was suggested that schools from diverse areas work together and share projects  for mutual benefit and understanding to help to eliminate social bias and encourage more children to get involved.

They suggested that schools clarify and make funding information user friendly to enable parents to advocate for specific programming to assure that their children are on track for academic success. Statistics have shown that by third grade, children who can’t read on grade level have difficulty catching up. 

The Fathers mentioned that many parents come from many countries that have totally different systems of education. Schools should actively assist parents in having a clearer understanding about their child’s school system so they can get more involved.

We invite more Fathers to engage in children’s education by being vocal and networking with others to positively impact their children’s education.

We congratulate our honorees Kacey, Corey, Jerry and Frantz for actively participating in these important fact-finding sessions  with M-DCPS  Superintendent Carvalho, M-DCPS Office of Community Engagement and  the Fatherhood Task Force as well as getting involved when they see something that needs attention in their children’s schools and communities. They see themselves as a Fatherhood Response Squad available to elevate educational opportunities for all children.

M-DCPS and the Fatherhood Task Force Are Happy to Announce the 9th Year of Fathers Taking the Lead in Education and Literacy

Mark Your Calendars!

Fathers in Education Day – Thursday, April 21, 2022

Fathers in Action & Advocacy Week, Monday – Friday, April 18-22, 2022


Fathers, Grandfathers, Uncles and male role models come together in their children’s schools (Head Start – K12) to read and join the students  in fun interactive learning activities. Children are excited to see you come to their school to support their education and growth.


Thank you for being socially responsible by giving time to your children and your neighborhood schools.


More details will be available after the holidays.

Happy Father’s Day

June 20, 2021

Father’s Day is everyday!

NBC 6 Honors Fatherhood Task Force Fathers On Behalf of New Kevin Hart Film, Fatherhood


Jonathan Eastman – Father, Imran Ali – Chief of Staff TCT, Kacey Merchant – Father, Holly Zwerling – CEO/President FTF, Donovan Lee-Sin – Director of Public Policy & Engagement , TCT, La’Mott Croom – Father, James Haj – CEO, TCT

FTF Advocacy News Update

FTF is communicating with the office of the Florida Surgeon General, Dr. Scott Rivkees about funding for future, expectant and new fathers’ health care as it affects birth outcomes. The Governor has provided 9 million dollars to the Health Department to focus on minority health and health equity affecting health care, infant mortality being one of them.

FTF is partnering with the Jasmine Project, a federal healthy start program in collaboration with the UM Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade to reduce racial disparities affecting Black infant mortality and improve maternal child health. The FTF partnership focuses on gender equity and fathers’ health (paternal child health) as a contributing factor in birth outcomes and the health of the mother. 

FTF is partnering with The Children’s Trust. The Children’s Movement of Florida and other community partners on promoting the READy, Set, Go Miami, a children’s early learning activity tool kit for community partners, fathers, mothers and significant others with a focus on engaging more fathers’ participation. Reading to children strengthens relationships.

Doing Good with the Deveau Group Podcast Interview with FTFSF Founder & President Holly Zwerlin‪g

“My talk with Holly is incredibly insightful for all our listeners especially fathers. I did not know what to expect with our interview but I was blown away at the breath of knowledge and perspective Holly brought to the interview.”



The Reading Teacher journal September/October 2020

We are so proud that our Fatherhood Reading Squad program in M-DCPS was published in The Reading Teacher journal September/October 2020 in collaboration with FIU, School of Education and Human Development. The title of the paper is Bringing Neighborhood Dads into Classrooms: Supporting Literacy Engagement. Hats off to all the fathers who participated in this volunteer program to inspire children to read and learn and to the schools, administrators and teachers who participated. This is the reference to the entire article:

Lynch, J., & Zwerling, H. (2020). Bringing neighborhood dads into classrooms: Supporting literacy engagement. The Reading Teacher, 74(2), 169-178.

The successful virtual Fatherhood Conference 20/20 in celebration of our 10th year anniversary lead us to new thinking about fatherhood and to new opportunities to move us to action. Fathers benefit by seeing themselves as advocates for parental social justice: Remember REAP: Fathers’ Rights to Equitable Access and Participation in all areas of children’s lives and when interacting with service providers.  For more info call 305-812-4000.


Click below to enjoy our 10th year anniversary video and the webinar with speakers National Fatherhood Leader Jeffery Johnson, Pediatrician Dr. Olunwa Ikpeazu, Activist  Brother Lyle Muhammad and Social Justice Practitioner Dr. Etiony Aldarondo. This is what Advocacy looks like!



Corey and other Daddy & Me Network participants

Corey and other network participants will focus on action steps promoting messaging about fathers’ involvement and impact on youth.  

Contact Corey’s instagram to connect: corey.g.patterson.

Dads support each other when they network and take action. Join in the effort.

Cooking At Home With Chef Cory

Chef Cory White is the recipient of the 2020 Involved Father Award


An uplifting and inspirational article in the Miami Herald featuring Fatherhood Task Force Fathers.

“A message to their sons —You are loved and smart, but you must fight for racial justice.”


JUNE 20, 2020


LINK: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article243497906.html

The World of Sports Supports Fathers in Education Day


These dedicated, enthusiastic and diverse father/community leaders met for almost two years to develop the Best Practices of Fatherhood workshop for High School students under the direction of The Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida with the support of The Children’s Trust under the late Gus Barreiro, a champion for children. Their mission was to establish a program that would show young people they cared about their future as they contemplate life’s decisions. With one out of four children growing up without a father, the father team strongly felt that by encouraging young people to think about their future goals and the skills involved, they would impact their thoughts about finishing school, community building, family goals, and being engaged participant in making informed decisions. 

The fathers’ commitment to this program and their individual and group work with youth has earned them the distinction of Great Contributors to Youth Development. This program is in tribute to Gus Barreiro who tirelessly fought for young men who he spent many years mentoring and providing them hope for the future.

La’Mott Croom, Jonathan Eastman, Kacey Merchant, Antwayne Leland, Denrich Everitt, Ijamyn Gray, Corey Patterson


Through a participatory learning approach, high school students will learn what it means to be an engaged father as a life choice. Community father-leaders/facilitators collaborate with students to provide a life-long timeline supporting academic achievement, community building, family engagement, how to plan for the future and become the master of their own goals.

To inquire about scheduling a workshop at your school, community center or faith-based organization,
Contact Holly Zwerling 305.812.4000



Fatherhood Squad Reading and Mentoring Program Video

2019 Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent’s Choice Award

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This father driven fun loving educational program engages fathers and male models to volunteer as readers and mentors to children in schools and centers. Call 305 812-4000 for more information.  Consultation, materials and Neighborhood Dads book available to guide you.

Please contact HOLLY ZWERLING for more information.

holly@ftfsf.org or call 305.812.4000

Most Valuable Father Award

February: Antwayne Leland

Despite Challenges of Diabetes, Most Valuable Father Antwayne Leland, Stands as a Role Model at Son’s School. “I volunteer at my child’s school because I know the students need a male role model to guide them.”


July: Cory White (view full story)


January: Antwayne Leland (view full story)


June: Mayor Carlos A. Giménez (view full story)

June: Supt. Alberto Carvalho (view full story)

June: James. R. Haj (view full story)

June: David Lawrence, Jr. (view full story)

June: Vance Aloupis (view full story)

June: Lonnie Lawrence (view full story)

June: Dr. Wil Blechman (view full story)

June: Dr. Isaac Prilleltensky (view full story)

June: Dr. Etiony Aldarondo (view full story)

April-May: Brian Person (view full story)

February-March: Gregory Williams (view full story)

January: Emmanuel Philogene (view full story)


December: Alan Jackowitz (view full story)

November: Staff Sgt Select Jose Bolanos (view full story)

October: Henri Francois (view full story)

Fatherhood Magazine: Especially for future, expectant, new and experienced fathers and their families.

7th Annual Fathers In Education Day and Fathers In Action & Advocacy Week Were A Virtual Success! 

Thank you to all the schools and fathers and others who participated virtually.

A partnership with M-DCPS Office of Community Engagement and The Parent Academy

An impressive 233 M-DCPS schools, 19 Community Partners and 1000s of Fathers and Male-role Models participate in Fathers in Education Day and Fathers in Action & Advocacy Week.  The initiatives were designed to increase involvement in schools throughout Miami-Dade County by giving fathers and male role models more opportunities to influence children’s learning by being present in their schools. Activities included reading, telling stories, share interests and attending workshops for fathers and families. Children’s perception of fathers, male role models and men was affected positively by their involvement and commitment. These programs reinforce summer reading, connections between fathers and their children and support academic enrichment throughout the school year.





Holly Zwerling, CEO/President Fatherhood Task Force

John D. Pace, M-DCPS Central Region Superintendent

Alberto Carvalho, M-DCPS Superintendent

Barbara Mendizábal, M-DCPS South Region Superintendent

Jose Bueno, M-DCPS North Region Superintendent

Mari Tere Rojas, M-DCPS School Board Member, District 6

M-DCPS Principals

Fathers & Male Role-Models

Malcolm Solomon, Father & his son

New Fatherhood

Holly Zwerling, CEO/President of the Fatherhood Task Force and new father Malcolm Solomon spoke about the FTF and New Fatherhood on WLRN Topical Currents. Here’s the link: http://wlrn.org/post/fatherhood-task-force-south-florida. Happy Fathers Day every day to all new and seasoned fathers and male role models who are engaged in children’s lives.

Malcolm Solomon, Father Holly Zwerling, FTFSF
Topical Currents on WLRN Joseph Cooper, Host & Executive Producer (Seated) Holly Zwerling, FTFSF Bonnie Berman, Associate Producer Malcolm Solomon, Father
Richard Ives, Senior Producer Holly Zwerling, FTFSF Malcolm Solomon, Father

Paternal Healthcare & Education Conference

Focus on Expectant and New Fathers’ Health and Rights & Responsibilities