The importance of fatherhood: one volunteer's journey as a dad and Hope Center instructor
Josh has just wrapped up a meeting with several Hope Center Indy directors about the second season of the Hope Center Podcast. He's been involved with the Center since its founding. Along with the podcast, he serves as a financial literacy instructor for the Take Heart Residential program.
While Josh passionately works to educate others about Hope Center Indy and teach the residents the importance of budgeting, another role that is extremely important to him is his role as a father.
"I have five daughters ranging from 17 to 11 in age," Josh says. "Five daughters that all came to my wife and me by fostering and adoption."
Long before Josh was involved with Hope Center Indy, Josh and his wife considered adoption and fostering. Their oldest was adopted from Russia when she was just ten months old. They adopted their other four daughters out of foster care in Marion County.
Years later, Josh notes the startling correlations between children in the foster care system and sex trafficking.
"Anywhere between 40 and 60% of all child sex trafficking victims have at least spent some time as a foster child," he says. "The role of a father is incredibly important in the life of a child. I think our lack of focus on fatherhood as a society has caused many, many problems."
That being said, Josh considers himself lucky to have two inspirational father figures in his life.
"I have wonderful relationships with both my biological father and my stepfather. This has helped me realize that a father figure isn't always a biological relation."
Josh's father and stepfather have not only motivated him as a parent but also in his role as a financial literacy instructor, where in a way, he can serve as a mentor for many of the Hope Center Indy residents.
"You know, just being able to be a part of their journey," he says about helping women overcome sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. "I play a small role. I'm one spoke in the wheel as far as contributors. But just to be able to see the transitions of everyone's lives. One of my most recent students specifically comes to mind. Being able to see her graduation recently and her development really shows how the Holy Spirit is so actively involved."
Josh encourages fathers to step up.
"Men must realize that our role in our children's life is one of the most significant of any in their lives, playing that active role of being there with time, energy, and talents, just spending ordinary time with them. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant."
Having finished his work at Hope Center Indy for the day, Josh shares his plans for Father's Day weekend before heading home.
"I've been helping with a Fatherhood Festival in Canton, Ohio, where the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum is," he says. "I've helped on the media front with it. It's going to take place this weekend, but I'm going to drive back Sunday so I can be with my family."
And what does Josh hope his children see through his example?
"I hope they see that God has given each and every one of us tools, talents, and treasures," Josh says. "I want them to understand that taking the opportunity to use these in whatever capacity is an absolute must."