‘Every day is Father’s Day’ at Pinellas County’s new Gold Medal Dads program

Eric Glasser | WTSP 10 Tampa Bay

Jun 17, 2022

The program provides men whose children are newborn to age 17 with the tools they need to become supportive fathers.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, there’s a relatively new program in our area dedicated to helping dads stay in their children’s lives and become more positive role models.

It’s called Gold Medal Dads — and its impact could last generations.

“This program was definitely a lifesaver for me,” said Jaycob Strubbe, a proud father of three sons.

“My world. They’re my world,” he said.

But Strubbe wasn’t always sure he’d be a good dad since he didn’t have what he considered an ideal father figure of his own growing up.

“Me knowing that, and me knowing that that’s how I was raised, I wanted to do better by my kids. So, I started learning about how I could have tools and other ways of interacting with my kids that wouldn’t require me being angry or me hitting them or me yelling at them,” Strubbe said.

That’s what led him to Gold Medal Dads — a program that started just a few months ago in Pinellas County helping men who may have themselves had absentee or abusive fathers fill that gap.

“The response has been great,” said Reggie Randolph with Healthy Families’ Father Services, which operates Gold Medal Dads.

The program provides men whose children are newborn to age 17 with the tools they need to become supportive fathers such as educational materials, home visits, referrals to other community services and resources.

“Bring them back into the families,” Randolph said. “And show them and share with them their importance.”

In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill setting aside $70 million for programs aimed at equipping dads with the tools they need to be better parents.

“When you take kids that do not have a father present during their upbringing the chances of them dropping out of school, getting in trouble with the law, having other difficulties, increases dramatically,” DeSantis said.

Gold Medal Dads aims to break the cycle of abuse or absenteeism by holistically helping fathers become responsible role models and an influence not just in their children’s lives but, perhaps, for generations to come.

“When you’re a kid, you don’t really see why the person you love the most and that is your superhero is treating you that way,” Strubbe said. “So, I wanted to fix that for my kids.”

Gold Medal Dads is one of several programs in Pinellas County dedicated to fostering fatherhood. For more information, people are encouraged to contact the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County or the Florida Department of Health office.

“Every day is Father’s Day,” Randolph said. “And the celebration is what we’re trying to have fathers understand and understand their importance. Not only for the children, but for our communities. We need more dads involved in our communities.”

Read the article and watch the video at https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/local/pinellascounty/gold-medal-dads-pinellas-county/67-b536d855-5168-41ae-874d-736d00ac6385