Hipolito's Keynote Speech
The Power of Fathers
Gracias a la Vida 2019
By Hipólito Sedano
Good afternoon, everyone!
My name is Hipólito Sedano, and I have been a SOMOS Mayfair leader for the past 2 years.
I am humbled that the SOMOS team asked me to speak today. I have not been around the longest and I’m not involved with every single program, but I think my “talavera tile” in the “SOMOS mosaic” is a good one. I am very proud of the work we are doing.
You may have noticed that SOMOS is an organization that is mostly run by incredible, smart, powerful women. Women in Mayfair are more likely to get involved in our programs. They champion so much change in our community. Ilead a program called 24/7 Dad. We work to raise men up. I am proud to be a part of the biggest male support group SOMOS has ever had.
I should tell you how I first got involved with SOMOS.
My wife Nayeli was the first to get involved 4 years ago. She was looking for support for our son who was having trouble socializing and she found SOMOS. SOMOS was always her thing. I wasn’t that interested. She attended workshops, became a leader and facilitated workshops, became a Promotora, and now is a full-time staff member! But that’s HER story. I am so proud of her.
Her excitement started rubbing off on me. I decided to join her during Reading Circles a couple of times and I enjoyed it. She mentioned a workshop called 24/7 Dad and said I should go. I laughed when she told me. I’m already a dad! What was there to learn? I told her I’d tryit. I knew I wouldn’t go back because it was on the nights I played soccer.
But then I went the first time. The facilitator Gustavo began talking and I thought, “Is he talking about ME? They know me!” Everything they said felt so connected to me.
After that first meeting, I came back every week. I never made it to soccer again!
In the fall of 2017 SOMOS asked me to facilitate the 24/7 Dadworkshops. I was nervous, but I knew how great the program was, and I wanted others to know about it.
I had never done public speaking before. I was thrown into it. I had to speak, because who else would?
At 24/7 Dadwe support fathers to be involved, responsible, and committed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have conversations about how to keep your family happy, how to be on the same team as your spouse and how to handle stress
I’m just so happy. It’s crazy. I see how other parents are becoming more positive. And I get to be a part of it. They hear how my life has changed, and I tell them it can be the same for them.
NOW, instead of always being selfish and demanding, I ask my family for their input, and what they need from me.
NOW,I go over the homework together with my kids when I get home from work.
NOW,I am more involved in their school, the community and I’m always the first to sign up for things.
AND NOW,I feel a greater sense of responsibility not to just provide a roof over their heads but I am helping to building my kids’ character. I want to be a positive role model.
In my community, machismois a big part of our culture. As men we grow up with our parents saying:
You have to be a MAN!
You have to be STRONG!
With 24/7 DadI’m learning that it’s okay to be open and sensitive. We have a space to express our real feelings.
I used to think that my only job as the father was to make money and discipline my kids. I’m now learning what it means to be present with my family.
I am proud to be learning these lessons. I can pass them down to MY children. Kids learn from their parents. I feel like I’m breaking a cycle. My sons will learn that it’s okay and healthy to communicate their feelings.
I have a 23 year old son. I apologized for the mistakes I made raising him. He forgave me and we both cried. My relationship with my oldest son has been repaired.
There should be more spaces like this for men and working parents. We need this.
If it weren’t for SOMOS, I would never have known to change. SOMOS changed my whole world and opened my eyes. I was given the tools to find the leader inside of me.
I always wanted to help people, but I had no direction and no idea how to start. Then, SOMOS came to ME! It’s amazing how it happened. I think this can happen for anybody who wants to make a change. They can have this opportunity too.
The money you donate is a good investment. It goes directly to parents like me with programs like 24/7 Dad. Families like mine are being transformed. This is how generational change takes place.
Mine is only one story.There are so many others who have come up as amazing leaders thanks to SOMOS. All of my SOMOS compadres prove that community knowledge and engagement has value. SOMOS Fuertes, Vecinos, Jovenes, EMPUJE, and the FRCs are doing great work advocating for equity our community in so many ways.
With your investment and partnership each of you are a crucial piece of the SOMOS mosaic. You can continue to be a part of this vision by giving TODAY.
You make a difference AND it is your support that opens doors for people like me.
On behalf of our community I thank you for your support.