CURRICULUM INSPIRES A COMMUNITY
Mario Falcon was one of the first parents to sign up. In the program, he gathered around tables each week with other moms and dads and guardians to discuss relevant topics such as Parent Involvement in Schooling, and Positive Communication. He would find camaraderie and encouragement, and receive care from volunteers like Cathy Brown, a volunteer table host.
“You can see as the weeks go by,” Brown reflected, “how they open up and let you into their lives. They start helping each other, figuring out problems for each other—what works and what didn’t work.”
“I knew I could use it,” Falcon remembers thinking when House of Faith called. Ironically, he had learned about this outreach in the mid-1990s, long before he became a parent and at a time when serving parents was only a pipe dream for House of Faith. He wasn’t interested then. Today, however, he sees it differently. Engaging with House of Faith in their parent training program, he said, “was about me being a better father and about handling situations better with my boys.”
Brown said, “I love House of Faith. They’ve done so many great things, but this parenting thing? Ho, ho, my goodness,” she laughed. “It’s something we’ve been waiting for for years. It’s an answer to prayer.”
As Falcon attended each week, he realized he was getting pieces of the content right as a dad. “Before the classes, I always told myself, ‘Man, what am I doing wrong? Or, what am I not doing?’”
Reflecting on what he learned, Falcon realized, “I’m not doing excellent, but I’m doing good. And I see that now.
“Dealing with PTSD, there’s so much that I have to hold back. Instead of blowing up or getting loud and angry—doing things that puts fear in my children, I try to understand them now. When they need to talk, I want them to know that I want to listen. I care about their feelings. And since I’ve completed this class, they’ve been more understanding and want to talk with me more.”
Falcon’s parents fought violently when he was young. They were evicted so many times that Falcon bounced through five different elementary schools. Today, he is praying and working to provide better stability for his own children.
“It makes me feel good to hear them tell me, ‘Dad, you’re doing a great job.’ My boys tell me that a lot now. They can see that I’ve changed.”
Brown added, “I wish we would have had these [classes] when I was young: ‘Here are some things that can help you, and here are some people who will help back you up.’”
Thirty-three families received a diploma for completing the course this past summer. Considering the chaos and complications many of them face, these diplomas symbolize success for each family.
Thinking about the program makes Cary Hendricks smile. He said HEBFF and Family Camp had believed “[House of Faith] might actually do something with this curriculum and this program that could be special.”
And it certainly has.