If you go
* What: Fatherly Figures’ second annual Charity Kickball game.
* When: 3-7 p.m. Sunday, Father’s Day.
* Where: Eastdale Youth and Family Development Center, 1312 Moss St.
As a Father's Day gift to their community, nearly two dozen local men will meet Sunday at the Eastdale Youth and Family Development Center to model how to be father figures to youth and elevate the image of young black males.
"Our vision is to rebrand what it means to be a black man in Chattanooga, really in America. You've got entrepreneurs, you've got people like Tee Johnson who is the founder of Fatherly Figure working in corporate America. You've got young black brothers like myself who is into politics, and you've got young brothers like (Interstate) Tax who is into media entertainment. He's an artist. But we're all coming together for one common goal, and that's the kids. To rebrand to the kids and give them a visual representation that you can be any of these," says Brandon Woodruff, a Democratic primary candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives' District 28.
The men will participate in Fatherly Figure's second annual Charity Kickball match at the Eastdale center from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Father's Day marks the fifth anniversary of the nonprofit Fatherly Figure.
Instead of showing rappers and gang members in their 20s and 30s, organizers want youth to see that men in their communities also represent a variety of professionals in the workforce, says Woodruff, 25.
In Sunday's game, Team Fatherly Figure, founded by Tremayne "Tee" Johnson, 30, will compete against Team iTRAP, founded by Steve Bedford Jr., 20.
The brand iTRAP stands for I Take Risk And Prosper, says Bedford, who owns a local T-shirt company.
Both organizations work toward supporting youth and the Chattanooga community.
Bedford explains that the risks people take to become gang members could be harder than the risks he takes to be an entrepreneur.
"There's really no reason to do anything (illegal) because there is so much opportunity on this side," says Bedford. "You just have to put the same grind into whatever you do."
The event also will include inflatables, face painting, a disc jockey and people dressed as cartoon characters who will greet children attending. The nonprofit Standing In The Gap Youth Foundation will distribute free food to youth 17 and under.
"It's going to be everything," says Johnson. "I like to bring families together."
The event is free. But donations are encouraged and all funds go toward other Fatherly Figure events.
Johnson says the kickball match is one of 14 events the charity has hosted since 2011 when he founded Fatherly Figure.
Johnson is the father of three boys, ages 6, 7 and 8, but he says it was his first child, a daughter named Taylor who died of sudden infant death syndrome at 6 months old in 2006, who gave him a deeper appreciation for being a father and the time he has with his three sons.
Johnson says he sees the need for more fathers and positive role models and wants other young men to share his vision.
"Growing up in Chattanooga as a black man, I noticed that it's kind of the wrong things that are worshiped," says Johnson. "I wanted to bring some positivity to being a black man, to make it cool to not be a rapper or drug dealer."
Contact Yolanda Putman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6431.