Being a good dad is David Cozart’s job at home; at work, his job is to teach other men how to be good dads, too.
On Saturday, the fatherhood initiative will host a Father’s Day Family Celebration, which includes a men’s prayer breakfast, a family march to Douglass Park and an afternoon of food, fun and informational resources at the park.
The free community event, in its 13th year, is aimed at encouraging and appreciating fathers and people who have filled the roles of fathers, while helping men who are not as active in the lives of their children get connected with support.
On Thursday, Cozart was featured as a “Phenomenal Father” on NBC’s “Today” show.
At the end of the segment, hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford (the latter appearing to have grown misty-eyed by the telling of his story) surprised Cozart by announcing that the Lexington Legends plan to treat him, his family and some of the families the Fatherhood Initiative works with to a baseball game.
“My personal life and my vocational life have kind of been on a concurrent path,” Cozart said in an interview Thursday night.
Before his work at the Fayette County Fatherhood Initiative, he worked with several other agencies, such as the Urban League of Lexington. The idea of fatherhood engagement — or problems resulting from the lack of it — was a common thread at each of them.
The National Fatherhood Initiative says that one in three American children live in homes without their biological fathers.
And, it says, children raised in homes where the father is not present are at greater risk of encountering a host of problems, from poverty and incarceration to teen pregnancy and childhood obesity.
“Children would be fine,” Cozart said, “if it wasn’t for grown folks.”
To help counteract that, the Fayette County Fatherhood Initiative seeks to “restore, equip and deploy fathers and male leaders in families, the faith community and throughout Lexington’s communities.”
It currently has about 15 volunteers teaching its curriculum to groups of men throughout the city. While the program is open to any man who is a father or father figure, Cozart said many participants are referred by the family courts, drug court and the state Department for Community Based Services.
Cozart told “Today” that his family is what keeps him going.
“I don’t want my daughter to have to wonder what it means to be loved by a man. She knows I love her,” he told the show. “I want my sons to know what being a daddy is, and being a man is and taking responsibility is.”
The Fayette County Fatherhood Initiative will host a men’s prayer breakfast from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at First African Baptist Church, 485 Price Road, followed by a family march to Douglass Park at 11 a.m. The Father’s Day Family Celebration at Douglass Park, from noon to 4 p.m., will include a resource fair, entertainment, children’s activities, food and more.