Calvin Williams has worked on fatherhood projects for years. He has counseled hundreds, if not thousands, of men on how to have better relationships with their children, their children’s mothers and how to find a job in order to pay child support.
He has also been there himself. His son is 24 now, but when he was younger, Calvin and the boy’s mother had to work hard to stay committed to their son even though they did not remain a couple.
So he is the perfect person to be HCJFS’ new fatherhood coordinator.
“I’ve got a lot to learn, of course,” Williams said. “I am really honored to be here. It’s a tremendous opportunity for impact on a new level.”
Williams has been associated with many programs and agencies during his 27 years in Cincinnati, including the Genesis men’s program, SUMA Fatherhood Project and Lighthouse REAL Dads. He also is former co-director of the Community Building Institute at Xavier University.
He grew up in Pittsburgh (nope, he’s not a Steelers fan) and lived in Louisville as a teenager and young adult. He served eight years in the U.S. Marines.
He managed several restaurants and was managing a Rally’s when he got the chance to become executive director of the Genesis program. Genesis was a program in Winton Terrace that worked with African-American men who were disenfranchised. The program drew a lot of support from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio.
At HCJFS, his job is to get folks to see fathers a little differently, as more crucial to their children and to the family dynamic – not just sources of child support. He’s tasked with changing the culture, both internally and in the community.
The main thing he has learned through all his fatherhood work, he said, is that “the men actually want to pay. They want to see their children. They just wanted to be respected and heard.”
Also part of his job description is to reestablish the Hamilton County Fatherhood Collaborative. He’s looking at models for it from around the state and the country. He’ll be looking for members and funding as well.