Father & Child Resource Center dedicated to Founding Director
Martin County, FL - Dozens of friends, colleagues, and community partners gathered at the Children’s Services Council on Tuesday, August 7 for the dedication of the Father & Child Resource Center, now named in honor of its founding director, David Cardno.
The David Cardno Father & Child Resource Center was founded in 2000 when a group of stakeholders, including Sarah Gosney, then the Executive Director of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, and Elliot Paul, then the Board President, saw the value in bringing fathers into the fold of healthy birth and childhood outcomes. Through the Statewide Ounce of Prevention program, they introduced the Fatherhood Initiative in Martin County, which was later funded by the Children's Services Council of Martin County and introduced as the Father & Child Resource Center with David Cardno at the helm as the director.
David passed away in 2015 after a battle with cancer, but his work in the community continues to leave a positive impact on the lives of many children and fathers – and beyond.
A soccer enthusiast, who spent many years cheering on and announcing games for his children, Jennifer and Andrew, David introduced "soccer with dads" at Head Start, where he hosted weekly soccer nights with dads and their students in the Head Start program, encouraging fatherhood involvement.
His outreach program in the Martin County jail taught parenting skills to incarcerated fathers and helped foster communication with their children, recording storybooks to allow them to read to their children despite their distance.
David started the monthly Family Law Forum, with volunteer attorneys providing over 1400 hours worth of services that assist fathers in overcoming the legal obstacles that may impede their involvement in their children’s lives.
If you attended a childbirth education class in Martin County, David was there - he spoke to all of the expectant parents with encouraging tips for dads to play a meaningful role in childbirth. He also worked with the birth certificate staff at Martin Health Systems, and as a result they consistently had the highest or second highest paternity acknowledgement rates in Florida.
Shamus Gordon, the current director of the David Cardno Father & Child Resource Center, has the advantage of knowing David for many years. He interviewed for the job alongside David back in 2000, and often states that he believes the better man got the job. Today he continues the work David started, ensuring that fathers play a positive role in the lives of their children, regardless of family circumstances.
“David’s vision was that Martin County would be a model community where resources are united to ensure that every child had a father or father figure playing a significant role in his or her life,” said Martin County Healthy Start Executive Director Samantha Suffich. Suffich, along with Gordon, joined David’s wife, Sandra, and children, Jennifer and Andrew, at the ceremony to officially dedicate the resource center in David’s name.
To learn more about the David Cardno Father & Child Resource Center, visit mchealthystart.org or call 772-463-2888.