by Chris Peak on March 24, 2015
In New York City, 749,000 kids are raised by single parents. But now, a program is providing support to these broken families.
|Students from the Fatherhood Academy's fourth cohort graduate on April 25, 2014.|
At 17 years of age, Kaeran Reyes-Little became a father.
Growing up in Queens, N.Y. — dad gone, mom working long shifts at the hospital — Reyes-Little found himself hanging with an older crowd, getting in trouble with the law. “I think that was God’s way of saying slow down,” he says of the birth of his son, Darius.
Even though he had just crossed into adulthood, Reyes-Little refused to perpetuate his own dad’s mistakes, to repeat the cycle. He took full custody of his son and tattooed his name across his forearm. Most mornings, Reyes-Little woke up at 4 a.m., wrestling with anxiety. “Why did I have a kid so early?” he’d ask himself. “I didn’t get to build a foundation before having to lay my son’s. What am I going to do?”
Through his older brother, Reyes-Little heard about Fatherhood Academy, a City University of New York program aiming to stop the downward spiral in broken families. Despite being apprehensive at first, he signed up. What he found there was a revelation: “Life’s not over. You’re still somebody,” he recalls hearing. “When you’re a single parent, you’re in a bubble already. It takes another parent to understand what that feels like. And this is not just parents, but fathers.”