If you’re not into football you may not know who he is but soccer fans will be chuffed to know that Craig ‘Fozzy’ Foster has been announced as the Australian Father of the Year honouring his role as a father, sporting figure, youth mentor, coach and a father figure to vulnerable refugees.
Presented by The Fathering Project, the awards shine a light on the critical role of fathering in the lead-up to Father’s Day by honouring ‘fathers’ who have contributed to family, community and youth.
A not-for-profit organisation, the Fathering Project, focuses on giving a child the best life possible through better fathering.
Fathers have a lasting impact
The Fathering Project CEO Káti Gapaillard said that research shows that fathers have a lasting impact on the mental, physical, emotional and academic outcomes of their children.
‘Perhaps the greatest benefit of fathers’ intentional engagement in caregiving is it breaks inter-generational cycles of harm and neglect and creates gender equity and balance for both mothers and fathers.
‘This is why we are thrilled to recognise and celebrate Australian fathers and workplaces who have gone above and beyond to ensure children and families stay connected and thrive.’
Award recipient, Fozzy said, ‘As our First Nations say, taking care of a child is “everyone’s business” and together we all impact children and youth around us across all cultural or other boundaries through the power of our words and actions.
‘Male role models, whether fathers, teachers, sport coaches or mentors have a deep responsibility to care for and protect young people over who they exert such power.
‘Together we can raise respectful males, young Australians who reject racism and love our cultural diversity, and young women capable of smashing gender barriers.’
This year, the Australian Father of the Year awards also included three new categories nominated by community members which included: Australian Community Father of the Year, Australian Sporting Father of the Year and Australia’s Best Workplace for Fathers.
Winner of Australian Community Father of the Year was Rick Pekan from Western Australia, who is a father of four biological children and two long-term foster children and has played the fathering role for over 50 other children in Out Of Home Care and says he has perfected the art of falling asleep with a baby safely nestled in his arms.
Winner of Australian Sports Father of the Year was Isaac Thomas from Western Australia, who is father to five young girls. For the last 10 years Isaac Thomas has changed the culture of a Public High School, thanks to his initiative of a ‘Tryathon’ which champions young adults to practice gratitude and selflessness whilst helping to raise funds for less fortunate kids. These cohorts have collectively raised over $275,000.
Winner of Australia’s Best Workplace for Father’s was KPMG. KPMG has one of the market leading gender-neutral parental leave policies, offering 26 weeks paid parental leave for all parents (inclusive of circumstances) and can be used flexibly within 24 months from the time a child joins their family.
To find out more about The Fathering Project, visit: www.thefatheringproject.org.