New York – On September 22, 2018, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, New York State Chapter celebrated the revival of the Twelve Outstanding Fathers of the Year and the induction of its new officers for the 2017-2019 term.
The Outstanding Fathers of the Year is the brainchild of one of Ms. Nena Lozada Smith. The concept was launched in 2006 to acknowledge fathers who did outstanding parental duties.
The first recipients of the award have been Ambassador Albert Del Rosario, then Secretary of Foreign Affairs who was in town at the time; others include: Sir Roger Alama; Arnie Rosario of Connecticut; Architect Sonny Lerum of New Jersey; and Jose Ramos.
In 2007, the search for “Outstanding Fathers” was formally implemented, with strict guidelines. The most important of these was that only fathers whose children graduated college were qualified candidates. An observation has been made that a lot of men and women measure success less in terms of their own accomplishments than their children’s achievements. A child’s college graduation is a way bigger deal for a dad than his own achievements. It is also a validation that their son or daughter could stand on his or her own.
In 2007, the first batch of unlimited Outstanding Fathers was introduced, namely: John De Los Santos, Ding Fulgado, Ben Santos, Roman Peredo, Johnny Mateo, Alberto Castro, Dr. Rudy Magpantay, Alfredo Roque, Santiago Muzones Jess Atencio Lee Quimbo (in Memoriam), Jimmy Yraola and others.
The Outstanding Fathers Awards were initially carried out during Jose Ramos’ time. Nena Smith continued the tradition when she succeeded Jose Ramos and she implemented the Ten/Twelve Outstanding Fathers of the Year until 2013. There was then a hiatus after Ms. Smith’s Chairmanship. On September 22nd, the Twelve Outstanding Fathers of the Year (TOFY) was revived.
Although the newly inducted NaFFAA-NY Chair, Laura Garcia, was excited at TOFY’s revival, she was a bit nervous about the task of putting it together again as something like this takes a lot of time, energy and money.
But this is something that she and her team believe in. The event was a success and she has her team to thank for its success. CEO of Fiesta in America, Mr. Nanding Mendez, also greatly contributed to the organization and helped in the success of the event.
Garcia said the planning of the event was well thought out, from the color of the awardees’ bow tie to the involvement of awardees’ children in the program. The color of the awardees’ bow tie is the color of royalty, royal blue. The trophy was carefully picked out, an elegant crystal with blue accent to highlight the message.
NaFFA-NY has been active in community for the past year. It has volunteered to assist during the 2017 election and to defend Asian American Voting Rights.
On October 26, 2017, NaFFAA Region 1 and NaFFAA-NY joined Consul General Tess De Vega to meet with New York Lt. Governor and former Congresswoman Kathleen Houchul and her team at her NYC office. The office of the New York Lt. Governor was working on information dissemination initiatives for newly-arrived Filipinos in New York State.
This year NaFFAA New York released its position statement regarding the June 3, 2018 Independence Day emphasizing solidarity and commemoration of the Philippine Independence Day. On June 30, 2018, NaFFAA-NY Chair Dr. Garcia, joined the rally in New York to end family separation in the border.
NaFFAA-NY continues to support issues that matter on leadership development, civic engagement, political involvement, and national advocacy. Its next project this year is immigration policy advocacy and education.
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(Photos and press release by NAFFAA)