Oswaldo Ortiz’s daughter was just a toddler when he had to leave her behind in 2017 to serve a year-long prison sentence for possession of marijuana.
“I used to always tell her, ‘Daddy loves you. Daddy will never, ever abandon you,'” Ortiz, 57, recently told Good Morning America. “I put those words in her head to make sure she understood that her father is not giving up.
When Ortiz was released from a Boston-area prison late last year, he went straight to a nonprofit organization, Fathers’ Uplift, that helps dads overcome obstacles like jail sentences, addiction issues and financial strains that may prevent them from being part of their kids’ lives. The organization is Boston’s first outpatient mental health center for fathers and families. Last year, the center helped more than 2,800 families. On Father’s Day, former President Barack Obama saluted Charles on Twitter.
Happy Father’s Day to Charles, one of our @ObamaFoundation Fellows, and all the dads at Fathers’ Uplift. Today, we’re celebrating fathers like these who provide a powerful example—not only for their kids, but for the rest of us, too. pic.twitter.com/GJsxi8DozY
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 16, 2019
Fathers’ Uplift this year received $150,000 from the new Social Impact Fund created by the American Heart Association. This fund enables the Association to invest in local entrepreneurs, small businesses and organizations that are breaking down the social and economic barriers to healthy lives.
The organization was recently featured on Good Morning America and in a segment on CNN.