KANSAS CITY, MO – There are hundreds of children around the metro area being raised by single mothers, but one organization is working to help fathers reconnect with their children.

ReEngage reaches out to men to help them become better fathers through classes and counseling. Rodney Knott, the executive director of ReEngage, says that a large percentage of African American children are born to unwed mothers. He says that while there are many wonderful women raising good children, both parents should be involved in the lives of their kids.

“Women don’t just get pregnant, they get pregnant through a relationship with a man,” said Knott. “So we already have these relationships, what we hope to do is bring the support and to support the family holistically.”

Charles Harris’ 10-year marriage ended in 2005, but he says that he never expected his divorce to cut him off from his 14-year-old son. He says that he hasn’t seen his son outside of court-ordered counseling sessions for the past two years.

“My heart is very heavy right now, very heavy,”
said Harris. “I’ve been fighting this for 3 years trying to reconnect with him, trying to have a relationship with him, trying to see him, trying to be a father to him and the system just won’t help me out.”

Knott says that his organization, which is hosting an absentee father’s conference at UMKC on Friday and Saturday, can help fathers reconnect with their children’s lives.

“Our goal is to reach out to these men with love, support and caring,” said Knott. “We can not shame men into doing what they should be doing.”

“We are the silenced minority,” said Harris. “Unfortunately, people don’t understand that we have a story to be told, that we want to be involved in the lives of our children.”

For more information about the father conferences, check out http://www.fathers.com/WDOGSsummit, or http://www.reengageinc.org/.