Ceatrice M.

Family Formation Alum

On a day like another other, 45-year-old father Ceatrice M. suffered a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest. Doctors revived him but saw no brain activity. Before moving to another facility for end-of-life plans, his daughter Reeda, who was three years old at the time, whispered: “Daddy I’m going to go to the park and play basketball.” Those would have been her last words to him, but suddenly a miracle! Doctors detected brain activity almost immediately after hearing her voice. From that day forward, little Reeda would be Ceatrice’s reason for living and motivation for becoming a better dad.

Shortly after, Ceatrice enrolled in FFSC’s six-week Family Formation program. “I wanted to know how to raise my daughter properly and get a better understanding of how to communicate with the mother,” he explained. Ceatrice and the mother of his daughter casually dated for five years. Lack of communication and increased conflict ended their relationship. Both agreed to co-parent, however Ceatrice knew he needed more insight as a parent.

In class, he met other dads just like him: “Most of the dads had daughters just like mine!” During class he learned about the significance of co-parenting and the importance of effective communication: “FFSC facilitators taught us how to communicate with the mothers of our children and how to lead a conversation with words and not with emotion.” He also learned communication and listening skills that would help his daughter be more open with him. “It’s not about what I say, it’s how I say it. I set the tone.”

Ceatrice gives thanks to FFSC Facilitator Andrew Glass for helping him realize that using the phrase “baby mama” is disrespectful and derogatory and does not reflect a respectful, healthy co-parenting relationship. “We were taught to stop saying it,” he explained. “Instead, we address the mom as my child’s mother.” As a result, communication between Ceatrice and the mother improved.

The financial literacy portion of the class inspired Ceatrice to make better long-term decisions regarding his daughter’s future. “Because of the class, I was able to purchase a life insurance policy and set up a college fund for Reeda. My health is not in the greatest condition, so I want to be sure that my baby is taken care of if anything were to happen to me.”

Today, Ceatrice is staying healthy and enjoys watching his daughter compete in gymnastics. They bond over making art and creating Tic Tok videos. Due to significant nerve damage, he currently attends physical therapy and hopes to gain back more of his mobility. “I’m excited to get stronger, so I can lift her onto my shoulders one day! Being an involved father and showing her what it means to be loved by her father is my primary purpose now.”