Thursday, April 24, 2014
By Akira Barclay, Contributor
Our latest Insider is media professional and radio personality Dion “Showtime” Chavis, who was raised in a single-parent home by his mother after losing his father at an early age. In the book “Be a Father to Your Child: Real Talk from Black Men on Family, Love, and Fatherhood,” he gives an account of his experience and how he began to lean on the culture of Hip Hop as a way to fill the void left by his father’s death.
Chavis’ resilience in the face of his childhood challenges has allowed him to persevere and achieve success, and now he is paying it forward. Read on to learn more about how this dedicated father, speaker, published author and healthy relationship facilitator is giving voice to fathers and inspiring the next generation.
You have an impressive background in music and media. What inspires your philanthropic work in the community and how do you balance it with your career?
I think the work I do in music and media go hand in hand with my philanthropic ventures. I feel as though I was given a wonderful opportunity to touch people’s lives while entertaining them. Since I have been given so much and so many great opportunities, it is required of me to give back and pay it forward. With each opportunity that I have comes the chance to actually change people’s lives and make a difference. A major part of my growth came when I realized that what I do for a living isn’t solely about me and my salary. It’s about what I can do to help others, and what I am required to do to give back to those in our communities who need it the most. So, it’s an easy balance because I want my listeners and readers to feel like we are all family and I am going to always do things that are not only beneficial to me, but beneficial to our community as a whole.
You’re serving as the co-chair for an upcoming fatherhood conference in North Carolina. Please share more about the event.
Family Resource Center (FRC) of Raleigh was established in 1995 as a community-based organization in Wake County, NC. I began working with them as a Healthy Relationship Facilitator in 2012. I am responsible for teaching youth, adults, and married couples about tools they can use to have better relationships and life skills. FRC will host its 2014 Fatherhood Conference on June 14, 2014 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Raleigh.
We are honored to have Dr. Steve Perry from Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut as our keynote speaker. Dr. Perry is considered by many as America’s most trusted educator, and has been featured on TV One, OWN Network, CNN, and more. This is an all day event that will empower fathers and give them tools that they can use to build the future lives of our children.
In addition to FRC, what other causes/organizations do you support?
I also tour the country speaking about fatherhood and its relationship to Hip Hop and pop cultures. I think there is a gap between parents and children that needs to be bridged. Many parents and adults aren’t sure how to communicate with their children because they don’t have a clear understanding of what effect music and mass media is having on them. So, I want to open up conversations with people who have the desire to gain knowledge about meeting these kids where they are and keeping them on track for a positive and successful future.
Through FRC, I also take part in President Obama’s Barbershop Buzz Initiative. We hold a series of monthly events at local barbershops where we talk about the benefits of fatherhood and responsible parenting. Since the barbershop is the cornerstone in many of our communities, we try to reach men in a comfortable environment and talk about issues. We break down some of the challenges that fathers are facing and come up with solutions for men who may be having issues with being in their children’s lives. More information about President Obama's Barbershop Buzz initiative can be found at Fatherhood.gov.
Do you have advice for readers who want to get involved and give back in the areas of fatherhood and mentoring?
I definitely would like readers to check out my website, TheSingleFathersBlog.com. This is my virtual home for all things pertaining to fatherhood. I feel like there are too many negative images of fathers in the media. I want to use the site to portray fathers in a light that is more uplifting and positive while also giving them information that they can use to be empowered during their fatherhood journey.
For those who may be thinking about getting involved, I can only say that our communities need more men of color to step up and not only be responsible for their children, but to also be responsible for young people around us who are in need of positive role models. We have to begin focusing more on raising the next generation of leaders and difference makers and the best way to do that is by giving of your time, talent, and treasure to help others.
Individuals or organizations who are interested in attending the 2014 FRC Fatherhood Conference should visit www.frcfatherhoodconference.org.