Fatherhood honor goes national with new name for award

Urban Light Ministries wants to shine a light on good dads everywhere.

By Kermit Rowe
Contributing Writer

CLARK COUNTY 

Urban Light Ministries is celebrating a decade of honoring local fathers and father figures by renaming and expanding its popular annual fatherhood award.

Starting this year, the honor will be known as The Good Dad Award and has been expanded to include fathers and father figures everywhere through online nominations, not just local ones.

Relatives and friends are encouraged to nominate awesome fathers and father figures at no charge at urbanlight.org/good-dad-award.

Award winners will receive a free personalized, printable certificate and congratulatory letter via email.

“With father absence being a global crisis, we take seriously our responsibility to go ‘into all the world,’ ” said ULM founder and President Eli Williams. “The internet enables us to expand our reach nationally and internationally.

“Some communities do not have a local fatherhood award,” he continued. “The Good Dad Award can serve as any community’s award by organizing a local event for a public awards presentation on Father’s Day weekend or any other time.”

In Clark County, all local Good Dad Award winners will be presented their certificates June 19 at 1 p.m. during the annual Juneteenth/ FatherFest. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Gammon House Museum, 620 Piqua Place, in Springfield. Festivities start with a 5K walk/run at 8 a.m.; beginning at 10 a.m. there will be exhibits, tours, food, resource tents and more. A Value Of Black Fathers discussion group will kick the week off on June 12 at 10 a.m. at COhatch.

This a part of ULM’s revamped approach to recognizing fathers.

“One of our mission’s original strategies has been to encourage men to be the best dads they can be for their children, families and communities,”

Williams said. “It is one of the most important responsibilities a man has in life. The Good Dad Award is a way to counter the negative images of fathers that are so pervasive in entertainment.

It’s a way to assist others in obeying the biblical command to honor fathers.”

The aim of The Good Dad Award is to recognize the crucial role fathers play in their children’s well-being and development, and to raise awareness of the value of fathers in their families and in their communities. The award identifies and honors outstanding fathers for their exceptional commitment to raising their children and/or for their exemplary contributions to the development of children in their communities.

In 2011, Springfield-based Urban Light Ministries announced a new fatherhood award called My Dad ROCKS. The name of the award changed in 2014 to the Clark County Community Fatherhood Awards. Eligibility expanded to include father figures of every type, and nominators no longer needed to be the minor child of the nominee. In 2020, a record 23 fathers received the award.

“Any male serving in a father-type role needs encouragement and should be honored, as he may be the only dad some children and youth have,” Williams said. “This includes grandfathers and other male relatives, mentors, coaches, teachers and others who are important to children.”

ULM’s resources for fathers includes its free online introduction to healthy fatherhood course POPS 101. It is available in English and Spanish and online at www.urbanlight.org.

Available are a video series for fathers, a downloadable dads devotional, the book and study guide “Father Love: The Powerful Resource Every Dad Needs” by Williams, and other materials. ULM also provides fatherhood workshops and courses for use by churches, organizations and conferences. 

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Eli Williams