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Rooftop Revelations: Pastor Brooks on the Importance of Fathers and How to Help Fatherless Youth

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Rooftop Revelations: Pastor Brooks on the Importance of Fathers and How to Help Fatherless Youth

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Sometimes having a father can be the difference between a good life and a bad life. Not all children grow up with a father, and that is the sad reality for many children on the South Side of Chicago. Some of these children, however, are fortunate enough to have single mothers who work one or two jobs while still finding time to become a mother. What about unlucky children?

On day 36 of his 100-day rooftop vigil to raise funds to build a community center – also described as a center of opportunity – Pastor Corey Brooks spoke with Tim Richards who grew up with a father and is pipe fitter by trade.

“(You are) a young man who grew up in the neighborhood, surrounded by gangs, in the midst of turmoil, in the midst of hardship, but who was able to escape it all and do something with (your) life,” said Pastor. “How did you end up learning to be a pipe fitter?” “

“It was kind of forced on me,” smiled Richards. “I grew up in the trades and so (my father) taught me how to work on boilers and ovens… He took me down there and register“ to be a pipe fitter.

“Man, let me ask you a question,” the pastor said. “Some of your friends who haven’t had a dad in their life to get them up and learn a trade, where are they? What are they doing?”


“It’s unfortunate,” Richards replied as painful memories flashed through his head. “A lot of them, you know, are dead or in jail.”

“This is what we are trying to prevent. This is the reason why we are trying to build this [community center]”said the pastor.” I encourage fathers to be in their child’s life, but we all know that is not going to happen in a lot of cases on the South Side. But we must build institutions that support these single mothers and give these young brothers a job. “

Richards nodded in agreement. Then the pastor’s smile widened.

“One of the things I liked about you is that you work hard. No one has to tell you to get up. You are not lazy, that’s what I say. Don’t depend on the government. You don’t depend on me, said the pastor. “You actually go out and hurry to do it.”

“I appreciate it,” Richards replied.


The pastor then returned to the issue of fatherless children. “Do you think we could be successful if we give other men these opportunities? “

“Definitely,” Richards said. He went on to say that he had been in the pastor’s church for over a decade and had witnessed many successes. He marveled that it was his pal, Raffa, who built the huge rooftop terrace where the pastor lives for 100 days, a feat many builders would find difficult. “It would be advantageous for us to attract young men into the trades.

“This is the reason we got the HOOD project,” said the pastor, who has worked tirelessly for years to provide vocational training ranging from construction to electrical work.

While the pastor knows that he and Project HOOD can never replace the father, they can provide direction and purpose in the lives of many young people without fathers. It is the only hope, in the words of the pastor, of “making people acquire trades, find people work, give them a work ethic, help them become all they can be.”

For more information, please visit HOOD project

Eli Steele is a documentary filmmaker and writer. His latest film is “What Killed Michael Brown?” Twitter: @Hebro_Steele.

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