The life and struggles of Paul Gayle

Back in 2010 President Barack Obama launched a fatherhood and mentoring initiative to raise awareness about the responsibilities of fatherhood.

Striking a personal note the day after Father’s Day, President Obama today announced a set of new proposals to help fathers become more engaged in their children’s lives.

The White House is launching a nationwide fatherhood and mentoring initiative, Mr. Obama said, in a call to action with states, cities and nongovernment organizations to raise awareness about responsible fatherhood.

Speaking at an arts and recreation campus in Washington, Mr. Obama also proposed a Fatherhood, Marriage and Families Innovation Fund, which would provide funding for community projects that assist fathers. Those programs could include job training, parenting skills classes and domestic violence prevention.

The Washington Post has a very good article about 19 year old Paul Gayle who is completing a class called Fragile Families and Responsible Fatherhood which is part of President Obama’s initiative.


The article talks about the struggles Mr. Gayle is going through as a single father to his seven month old daughter Sapphire. Mr. Gayle doesn’t have a job, doesn’t own a car, the mother of his daughter is rarely in their lives and he lives with his mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

He had pushed a creaky stroller through one of Milwaukee’s worst neighborhoods and ridden a bus across the city not because he wanted to attend a class called Fragile Families and Responsible Fatherhood, but because, like everyone else in the room, he saw no other choice. Some of the men had been told to take the class as a condition of visiting their estranged children. Others had been lured by the promise of job referrals or reduced child-support payments. Paul had come mostly because of the promise of free baby supplies, and lately he had been purchasing his Pampers one at a time, repeating the same transaction so often at a corner store that a clerk had dubbed it the Daddy Paul Special, 75 cents for a single cigarette and a size-3 diaper.


As Mr. Gayle is completing his course he was turned down for two jobs due to the fact that he failed the drug tests. Despite the fact that he is trying to make something in his life the odds seem to be constantly stacked against him. A recent job prospect would have him working in Waukesha, Wisconsin which would mean three bus transfers to the western suburb.


Check out the article at the Washington Post.

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