One local group is working to reconnect non-custodial fathers with their children.
A picnic is a favorite summer pass time. It's also a way for these fathers to share an activity with their children.
It's one of several fun events a non-profit called Fathers, Families and Healthy Communities plans throughout the year to give dads a chance to spend time having fun with their kids. But the group is not all about fun and games.
Participants voluntarily attend weekly meetings to get help addressing issues including education, employment and child support that often block fathers from seeing their children. It also provides peer support among the men.
"One of the good things about this organization is that it helps you identify what can you do to help keep your kids on a positive path," said Rick Calloway, participant.
Organizers says getting more non-custodial fathers involved in the lives of their children may be a solution to help stop the violence in many communities.
"The research is real clear with regard to what happens when the fathers are involved, one: the girls are less likely to get pregnant early and the boys are less likely to be involved in crews, what they call gangs," said G. Sequane Lawrence, Project Director, Fathers, Families and Healthy Communities.
Fathers say the help aimed specifically at their needs is working to strengthen family ties.
"I really didn't know as far as the legal system works. So I was kind of frustrated. I didn't really have any insight of how to really connect back with my son so they gave me a lot of information," said father Kermit Thomas.
"It's important because I need him in my life and I just need him," said son Kenan Thomas.
Fathers, Families and Healthy Communities also works with the City Colleges of Chicago to help the men with job training and job placement. You can find more details at www.ffhc.org