Behind the Desk with Oscar Figueroa
Sports, Bonsai Trees and Fatherhood
Meet Oscar Figueroa! Oscar is our FRANC Program Coordinator!
FRANC provides education, resources, and support to empower fathers and father-figures to build safe, healthy, nurturing relationships with their children and celebrate the joys of positive fatherhood. FRANC services are for all fathers and father-figures – married, single, divorced, foster, expectant, surrogate, and mentors. As the Program Coordinator, Oscar helps teach fathers how to build and maintain healthy, positive relationships with their children as well as their co-parent(s).
Today, Oscar gives us a glimpse of who he is beyond the desk.
1. So Oscar, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Jayuya, Puerto Rico. I moved to Tampa when I was 15 and have been here since. I started working with Champions for Children five years ago as a Family Educator with the P3 program and last year transitioned into the Program Coordinator position with FRANC. Prior to my work at CFC, I worked for the FSU’s Center for Reading Research conducting literacy assessments and later at USF’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program as the Assistant Coordinator. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of South Florida.
2. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Something most people don’t know about me is that I have a small bonsai collection. I started informally studying the art of bonsai and bought my first small tree a few years ago.
3. Bonsai trees are so unique! That’s so cool! So when you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?
I like to catch up on sports. I don’t always get time to watch the games, but I do like to keep up with the latest scores and players.
4. Let’s talk about the FRANC program. Why is the FRANC program so important for fathers?
The FRANC program provides 13-weeks of fatherhood classes and support for fathers in the Tampa Bay area. The program is important for fathers because it provides fathers with strategies for building a nurturing relationship with their children. The program helps fathers understand their role in parenting to create healthy family relationships and positive child development. Because the program is father-specific, courses are comprised of only fathers so it offers an opportunity where they can express their concerns, ask questions, and learn from the content but also from each other.
5. Can you give us an example of the impact the FRANC program has had on one father or family?
I believe that every story I come across when working with our FRANC fathers is impactful. However, one of my most recent successes was about a father who was down on his luck and emotionally devastated. He believed that he had lost the love of his child and that he would not be able to repair their relationship. After working with the father for 13 weeks, not only was he able to complete the program with perfect attendance and receive his certificate of completion, but he also proved to himself and his child to never quit for those you love. On the last day of class, he sent me a picture of himself and the child having dinner celebrating.
6. That’s so powerful! In honor of Father’s Day coming up this weekend – if there’s one piece of advice you could give to any father, what would it be?
Being a father is a privilege. It is an opportunity to hold in your arms something so perfect, so incredible, and full of life. Remember that your goals, your dreams, your aspirations, and your love will be their 4 cornerstones which they will build upon. Always remember to the world you are a father, to them you are their world.
7. What’s your favorite thing about working at Champions?
The memories I have acquired during my time here at Champions working with children, Moms, Dads, and caregivers of all kinds.
8. Is there anything else you want to share?
Yes, a message to every parent or caregiver; please never give up or quit on your child because parenting takes patience and love. Champions for Children is always here to help.