Our Mission at D.A.D.S. of STL is to Encourage, Educate and Empower Fathers to become Dependable, Active, Dedicated, Supportive D.A.D.S. in the lives of their families.
We envision D.A.D.S. of STL having local community backing through planned activities and support groups to assist with the various needs they may face.
Shaun Swearengen has a powerful story that he hopes will inspire not just single dads, but all dads to know they are not alone.
My family’s journey began in Batesville, MS. My Grandmother Alta Swearengen and numerous other relatives would decide later to relocate to St. Louis, MO for better opportunities. Throughout my childhood I had a broken relationship with my biological father, and this would be the catalyst for change for me to become the father I am today. I wholeheartedly attribute my success, determination and hard work to my mother Venita Swearengen Butler, she instilled in me that anything is possible regardless of your circumstances handed to you in life. I hold on to that belief still to this day!
In my early 20s, I became a father for the first time to a beautiful baby girl (Jada) as I mentioned, because of my troubled past with my biological father, I did not want to have that same experience with my daughter. I was nervous about this new role as a dad, but I did what was needed to be a good father by working diligently to be active and present in her life. At the time, I wished I had a good support system of DADS to help me along my new journey of being a father. As my first born grew older, I wanted a more permanent role in my daughter’s life and took the steps towards better co-parenting and then eventually joint custody. This was certainly a new experience for me which brought on challenges, struggles and lessons. But like every issue that I’ve endured, I was able to tackle single fatherhood by being persistent and never giving up.
I would later marry my high school girlfriend Melanie Adams Swearengen. We had a beautiful girl together in 2016; unfortunately, in 2017 I experienced a tragedy that would rock me to the core. I tragically lost my wife. I became a widower which immediately made me a full-time single father raising my 9-month-old daughter (Olivia). Though there was much heartache and pain with experiencing such a tragic loss, I had to show up for my daughters. Which is what I did and will continue to do each day. I pause here to reminisce just how much she meant to me. Melanie was my biggest cheerleader, she encouraged me each day to be great. I still see her smile today and I can hear her laugh. She had a personality that would light up the entire room! She was a phenomenal woman and forever in my heart.
Being a dad alone isn’t easy. But raising children as a single father is even more challenging but so rewarding. Some men become Dads intentionally, having made an active decision to become a father and taken whatever steps are necessary to get there. For others, it’s more of a surprise or even a shock. Too care about somebody else more than you care about yourself. Their happiness, their health, their sense of wellbeing and personal security, is more important than your own. This to me is the true definition of being a DAD. I would give up everything for daughters, without even a second thought. Becoming a father is one of the most important and fulfilling jobs you will have in your life. Being a loving, involved dad is the best thing you can do for your child. The type of father you are when they’re little will influence them right through to their adult life. Children need close, stable relationships with both parents. They do better when fathers spend time with them and interact with them in a positive way. Fathers can help their child’s development through play, by being a good role model, and by being warm, loving and engaged. Even if you’re not the biological father of a child, being a father figure who gives them love, support and involvement will benefit the child. From my life experiences, D.A.D.S. of STL was birthed. I am a father that knows struggle, anger, fear, grief, and challenges.
Single father families are on the rise. In 2019, there were approximately 6.51 million families with a male householder and no spouse present in the United States. According to Single Parent Magazine, the number of single fathers has increased by 60% in the last 10 years, and is one of the fastest growing family situations in the United States. Single DADS are provided with a limited amount of resources that are unique to them or aren’t as readily available to single DADS as they are to single moms. We men can also be our worst enemy because we tend to often view acceptance of help as a sign that we have failed as a man and father. This is where D.A.D.S. of STL will ensure men have a safe space to express their parenting challenges and frustrations while receiving the necessary resources to help DADS overcome and take pride in who they are. AT D.A.D.S of STL we will provide guidance, frequent encouragement, and a support system whom will walk alongside these DADS on their journey.
At D.A.D.S. of STL we understand because we’ve been there. We know being a single DAD is hard, but not impossible.
D.A.D.S. of St. Louis, Inc. is currently accepting donations to assist a mother of 2 save her home. CEO and Founder Shaun Swearengen has personally pledged the remaining monies that are not raised through donations.
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