We love to celebrate fathers at MOMS Orange County! This year, for Father’s Day, we would like to put the spotlight on Joel Manzo, a hardworking and loving father of two girls, Leslie, 10, and Caroline, 6. When Joel and Crystal were expecting their first child, they participated in just about every class offered by MOMS, including monthly in-home visits that continued through the baby’s first birthday.  Joel especially enjoyed the Workshop for New Dads, a program designed only for men. Joel desired to learn as much as he could to prepare for their baby’s arrival, to support his wife, and for the journey ahead, that of being a father to a child. “Before attending the workshop, my only form of preparation was based on assumptions and observing other fathers with their kids,” he shares. “I learned many things about infant care and their needs, and also about the importance of being patient because, until they can communicate with words, our children cannot express their needs other than crying.”

The couple’s commitment to their readiness as new parents has reaped many rewards over the years: both girls are happy, healthy and excel in school.

Joel is happy to spread the word about MOMS Orange County “especially if it will help more men become better parents and better husbands,” he says.  As a volunteer, Joel brought his infant daughter, Caroline, to the Workshop for New Dads to speak with other expectant fathers about his experience and to demonstrate common things like holding, swaddling, diaper changing and bathing a baby – allowing new dads to gain confidence before the arrival of their own babies.

Today, 10 years later, this “veteran dad” continues to prioritize his role as father and husband. He is very involved with his girls’ school and activities, and makes time to take his wife out for date nights as often as possible. His advice to new fathers? “Multiply your patience, your commitment as a husband, help your wife as much as possible, and listen to your own parents’ advice. The most important school is the school of life and they have already experienced this chapter in theirs.”