Purdue News

May 25, 2005

Marion County program for young fathers wins Purdue award

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A program that helps young fathers with parenting classes, job assistance and education will receive a boost from Purdue University.

Fathers and Families Resource/Research Center Inc. (FFRRC), of Indianapolis, will receive the fourth Inspiring Families and Building Communities Award from Purdue's College of Consumer and Family Sciences. The award honors organizations that have a direct impact on the community and emphasize family unity.

FFRRC, which serves more than 300 fathers a year through classes, counseling and family-oriented activities, will receive a $1,500 cash award. FFRRC is nonprofit organization that helps low-income fathers under the age of 27 in Marion County who are undereducated and unemployed or underemployed.

In 2004 the organization helped successful applicants pass their general educational development tests, enroll in post-secondary or vocational programs, receive health insurance and find jobs.

"The agency strives to improve the life chances of children by assisting young fathers to be self-sufficient and support their children," said Karen DeZarn, assistant program leader in Purdue's Consumer and Family Sciences Extension.

A $500 cash award will go to three finalists: Caring Parents Program, of Columbus, Ind.; Family Youth Services Bureau/Juvenile Court Partnership Programs, of Valparaiso, Ind.; National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - West Central Indiana, of Lafayette, Ind.

"These groups are a wonderful example of how collaboration within a community can truly make a difference for Indiana families," said Dennis Savaiano, dean of the College of Consumer and Family Sciences.

The Caring Parents Program works to promote healthy relationships between parents and children in Bartholomew County. In 2004 programs included education on how to cope with a crying infant and trained volunteers made home visits following the birth of a baby.

Family Youth Services, in partnership with the Porter County Juvenile Court, includes residential and out-client services. Programs include the risk management program, an alternative to incarceration that teaches new skills and behaviors, and the Saturday detention program, which focuses on education and community service for juvenile offenders.

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill — West Central Indiana seeks services and treatment for people with mental illness and their families. The group established a community treatment team for the seriously mentally ill and has worked with local police departments to establish a crisis intervention team.

The Inspiring Families and Building Communities Award is sponsored by Purdue alumnus Paul Zmola and the College of Consumer and Family Sciences. Zmola earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1944, 1947 and 1950, respectively. Zmola also received the Friend of Purdue Award in 1992.

Zmola's wife, Gertrude, was a Purdue Extension specialist during the 1960s. In honor of his wife, he previously established the Monhaut-Zmola Fellowship, which provides Extension educators with a study fellowship. He also established a fund to award outstanding graduate students in consumer and family economics.

Nomination forms for next year's Inspiring Families and Building Communities Award will be available after January on the College of Consumer and Family Sciences' Web site. The 2005 applicants will automatically receive a copy of next year's application.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432, maggiemorris@purdue.edu

Source: Dennis Savaiano, (765) 494-8213, savaiano@cfs.purdue.edu

Karen DeZarn, (765) 494-8252, kdezarn@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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