link to Gifts of Hope website

A Father’s Quest

Blake wanted to be a great dad, but would his own childhood experiences hold him back? 

June 15, 2012 by Linda Leigh


“I was determined to provide a two-parent home for my child,” says Blake Myles, whose own turbulent childhood made him want to become a better father.

When he was just two months old, his parents realized they would be happier apart than together. While his mom battled addiction issues, Blake lived with his father.

“I felt safe and cared for,” says Blake.

But at the age of six, a new stepmother changed everything for him.

“My stepmother demanded respect, but didn’t give it. This led to angry outbursts, and before long I was living with my mom, who was now clean,” he continues.

But that reunion was bittersweet. His mom’s fiancé made Blake feel like extra baggage. When Blake was told he was a “waste of money,” a fistfight ensued, and Blake was kicked to the curb.

Moving Forward
For a few years, Blake shuffled between extended family members. Each home carried its own stress and tension.

“I didn’t fit anywhere,” he goes on to say. “I had no one to talk to and nowhere to let my feelings out. I craved stability and security and had no idea how to achieve it.”

When Blake met Amber, he began to trust again. He moved into her family home but it, too, was plagued by unpredictability and chaos. When the 18-year-olds learned of Amber’s pregnancy, they began to formulate plans to secure an apartment of their own.

In his efforts to support his young family, Blake obtained employment as a construction worker. But it wasn’t long before a wrist injury left him applying for social assistance.

Receiving that assistance, though, meant Blake had to develop a plan for finding employment. He was well aware that his decision to drop out of school after Grade 11 would make it harder for him to find a job. Now, he dedicated himself to completing high school.

Finding Support
Located in Ottawa, The Salvation Army Bethany Hope Centre for Young Parents continues nearly a century’s tradition of providing a wide range of services to pregnant and parenting youth and their children.

In 2011, Blake, who struggled with human interaction and was extremely shy, completed the centre’s high-school correspondence and life-skills courses.

“The Army’s caring, supportive environment restored my self-worth and helped me to move forward,” he says.

Then Blake heard about the centre’s new program designed especially for dads.

“Having my daughter was a life-changing event for me. Being a parent is rewarding, but also complex and challenging. I welcomed the extra help, guidance and support the program offered.”

David Milnes, a fathering worker at the centre, says good kids don’t just happen—they are nurtured by caring, involved and responsible adults.

“Our program focuses on young men who make the conscious choice to be the solid role models their children long for and need,” he explains. “And what better way to learn than from other dads who share their experiences of struggle and joy along the journey.”

Today, 21-year-old Blake is hopeful about the future. He is studying police foundations—a college diploma that prepares students to work in a variety of law-enforcement sectors—and growing and learning all the time. His feelings of emptiness and pain have been replaced by passion and the drive to build a strong, healthy family.

But when Blake feels overwhelmed and tormented by emotional overload, he knows who he can call. At The Salvation Army, he’ll find what he needs.

Speak Your Mind

*

A Healing Place

A Healing Place

The Salvation Army and an Indigenous correctional facility partner to restore women’s lives.

Our Priority … the People!

Our Priority … the People!

Partners in Mission spotlights Latin America North Territory.

Opinion & Critical Thought

Rising from the Ashes

Rising from the Ashes

The journey to Easter begins on Ash Wednesday.

How Beautiful

How Beautiful

Bringing good news through the Partners in Mission campaign.

Territorial News

Salvation Army Thrift Stores Pass Christmas Donation Goal

National Recycling Operations raises more than $160,000 in 2015.

Booth University College Announces Appointment of Next President

Booth University College Announces Appointment of Next President

Dr. Marjory Kerr to become fifth president of Booth, effective July 1, 2016.

International News

Video Shows Salvation Army Refugee Response in Norway

Video Shows Salvation Army Refugee Response in Norway

Raufoss Corps provides assistance and a place of community for refugees and asylum seekers.

General’s Visit to India a Time of Joy, Challenge

General’s Visit to India a Time of Joy, Challenge

Thousands gather to worship and praise God as General André Cox encourages Salvationists to tell the world how they have been transformed by God.

Faith & Friends

It Takes Two

It Takes Two

I was disappointed when my husband spent his day off doing chores instead of being with me. But was I any better?

Life Changer

Life Changer

Years of abuse led Jay Kivell down the path of drug addiction. But a new life was waiting for him.