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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 15, 1995

Vice President Gore Issues Challenge to National Leaders, Fathers: Get Involved in Children's Lives, Provide Suppport for Each Other

In one of the main events leading up to Father's Day this week, Vice President Gore challenged national leaders and fathers to get more involved in the lives of their children and announced a new non-governmental initiative called Father To Father help them reach that goal.

"Too many times American men have stepped away -- consciously or unconsciously -- from the most important role that any of us will ever play in life ... that of protector, mentor, and nurturer of the next generation," the Vice President said. "Too often, as you have heard today, children are being raised in homes without fathers, and too often fathers have no one to turn to when they don't know how to connect with their children."

The Vice President spoke to an audience comprising the heads of national fatherhood organizations, including representatives from the public and private sectors, and leaders from civic, religious and philanthropic organizations. Afterwards, he took questions from audience members about the role of men in children's lives and the need to provide comprehensive support for fathers as they reconnect with their children.

"We must encourage men to take an active part in the caring of their children, and we must make available opportunities and the support necessary for them to do so," the Vice President said. "I am convinced that there is nothing more essential to successful fathers than the active support of other fathers."

Last year, the Vice President hosted a conference, "Family Reunion III: The Role of Men in Children's Lives" where he first proposed a new nongovernmental organization that would link men in one-on-one relationships to provide mutual support and mentoring. Today's announcement of the Father To Father initiative is the result of that year-long effort to meet this challenge.

Specifically, Father To Father is a national effort to unite men in the task of being strong and positive forces in their children's lives. With assistance from central resource teams, local communities or agencies that choose to participate in the initiative, Father To Father will develop its own plan to expand and enhance existing father support programs; create new opportunities for men to come together one-on-one or in groups to support each other in their roles as fathers; and rally businesses, congregations, schools and agencies to focus on the importance of fathers in children's lives.