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2024 Summit - Washington Dads Panel

Washington Dads Panel

Five system-involved fathers from a variety of backgrounds shared their experiences and hopes for greater access, inclusion and belonging in our child and family services. 

The recording will be posted soon!

Jeffrey Hamlet, proud father of seven children.

During his incarceration, he engaged in the Strength in Families program and, to this day, is a strong and active participant. Jeffrey wants to inspire other fathers with his story and his journey of fatherhood during incarceration.

Mario S., proud father of one adult child.

Mario is a current participant in the Strength in Families program. Mario has dedicated his life to coaching and mentoring youth. Mario is planning to start a nonprofit organization and use some of the principles he learned in the SIF program curriculum to work with youth.

Raymond Gregson, father, facilitator, and instructor – Family Court/Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.

This journey of my life started in December 2016, when I decided there was no other alternative for me than to make a substantial change in my life and mindset. I have struggled with addiction, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. My daughters and son have had behavior struggles and experienced physical and sexual abuse and suicidal ideation. We successfully navigated a Child Protective Services case and used many community resources, supports and systems in our efforts to rebuild our lives and relationships with each other. I was 50 years old when this journey began, and I eventually came to work for and with many of the support systems that helped to assist our family.

I have numerous certificates and several working credentials. I am an instructor and facilitator for “Unlocking Your Potential” through Legacy Business Cultures, a certified peer counselor with basic mediation training. I use a trauma-informed approach and am also a substance use disorder family navigator, Fatherhood Council member and serve on the Substance Use Disorder Advisory Committee. Through my lived experiences, it is my desire to help empower families and give hope so that others may succeed in their journeys. 

Tui Shelton, father of seven, advocate and veteran.

"If I had not become a dad, I would probably be dead by now." - Tui

Tui is a single dad with shared custody of his six daughters and continues to fight for shared custody of his son. He fought the court system very hard to get this favorable custody arrangement as it is not typical for dads to receive 50:50 custody. Tui is a veteran who also was justice-involved because of some poor decisions as a young man who grew up with a strong mom but without his father.  He found his voice as a volunteer in the Head Start Advisory Council and hasn’t stopped sharing his story and his ideas for improving access for dads since. He is one of the fathers on the Washington Fatherhood Council who always says yes when asked to speak to any group about what dads need in Washington to be supported in becoming the dads they aspire to be. He also represented fathers on the 2023 Child Support Schedule Workgroup and at the DSHS Leadership Conference.

Sean Moses, father of three and member of the Tulalip Tribes.

I am a stay-at-home father of two now and am taking the necessary steps to maneuver through the courts to gain custody of my other son, Andrew, who currently resides in guardianship. I started my parenting classes in the early stages of recovery. I realized I needed to work through my anger and resentment and gain the tools that I have today that make me a better parent. It has introduced me to this fatherhood initiative program in which I am able to share my journey. Addiction was a very big role in my life, as it helped me stonewall my emotions. My wife and I have rebuilt our marriage and work together to raise our children. 

The Dads Panel was facilitated by Nicky Wilks, Executive Director and Journeymen of One Village.

As a speaker, trainer, educator, facilitator and rights of passage guide, Nicky has supported thousands of youth and adults through transformational workshops, classes, courses and events. For the past eight years, he has guided the Journeymen Institute, a Northwest nonprofit organization that supports the healthy development of boys and men. His gifts in social artistry thrive at the intersection of human development and community-building, weaving voices and building a vision for a brighter tomorrow. He lives on Vashon Island, Washington, with his beloved wife and three children. 


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