My name is Milton W. Jones Jr. and I am a member of the Teen Fathers Program in Bridgeport. For starters, we all know being a parent is one of if not the most difficult job one may endure. Myself, I am a proud father of a precious 4 month old baby boy as of today. When I found out I was going to be a father, I was at a loss for words. I wondered if I would be a father as opposed to that man who isn’t around. My father wasn’t there for me as he should have been during my adolescent years, so I took the initiative and knew I had to make it my destiny to never fall short as he did. With various thoughts and emotions scrambling through my mind, I saw that I was pressed for time. My son was on his way, yet I didn’t have the slightest clue what to do. I was lost…but then a door opened. I was introduced to a man by the name of Sal Hanaif. He told me that he could help me become a successful father figure as well as teach me the skills and support needed to obtain this status. Right then and there, I knew this was my chance to get my priorities in order.
Sal explained that he was in charge of a teen fathers program and that I should come and see what it has to offer. I accepted. During my first few sessions in the group, I was introduced to guys who were going through exactly what I was. I had a sense of relief knowing I wasn’t alone. As time progressed, a bond was created that I thought could never be established. I now had a place to vent, express, comment on and give my feelings on anything! This is what changed my life. I was going through hell and thought I’d never be able to rise above it. My mind was in a constant frenzy. I contemplated everyday trying to find a positive way to deal with my situation. (Jail, Drugs etc) If it had not been for this program, I think, as a matter of fact, I know I would have snapped and acted in a way I would regret for the rest of my life (stereotype of young black male).
This program is needed everywhere there are teen fathers. It helped me maintain a positive mind state and keep a leveled head. This program also helped me financially. Sal, my mentor and group leader, opened many doors and opportunities for me, whether it was supplying educational help, emotional, mental and financial. He was and still is 24/7. I can now say I am proud of who I have become. I went from a lost troubled teen father to a man who sets a legacy as a father. All I want in this world is for my son to succeed and be the best he can be. In order for him to succeed, I have to set the foundation and lead the way. I am currently a senior at Central High School maintaining a 3.45 GPA and will be attending the University of New Haven and majoring in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science as well as minoring in Accounting and Finance. This program also helped me apply and get situated with grants and scholarships.
In all, the Teen Fathers Program is the best thing that ever happened to me. I am on the right track with this program and I am never looking back.
To conclude my speech, in 20 years, if someone asks my son, “What kind of father do you have?” I want him to say, “I have the best father in the world. He was always there for me, never left me alone, always showed me love, care, discipline and above all how to be a man. For that I want to thank him and the Program.