Special Fathers Podcast Series
Listen to all the heartwarming stories about very special fathers and their very special children.
#12 – Shanne Sowards & Kwame Assuman
David talks to a special father who’s making a difference in Portland, Oregon. His name is Shanne Sowards who at the age of 15 became a father to his daughter Kendra. While the relationship with the mother didn’t work out and against the odds, Shanne stuck by Kendra. With the help of a mentor named Ben. Years later Shanne felt the calling to inspire teen fathers and started Squires, a mentoring program for teen fathers. Also David Hirsch will talk to one of Shanne’s mentees, Quame Assumen; who at 16 became a teen father to his son King, who has had some serious health issues. Hear their inspiring stories now.
#11 – Dick Hoyt
David Hirsch talks to special father Dick Hoyt. Dick and his son Rick, a non-verbal spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, have competed in over 1200 races including 34 Boston Marathons and Six Iron Man Triathlons. Hear their amazing story on this Special Fathers’ Network Podcast.
#10 – Bob Roybal
Air Force Vet Bob Roybal and his wife are parents of a special needs young superstar — Brody — a member of the U.S. Sled Hockey Paralympics team. Brody is now a two time Gold Medal winner on the U.S. Sled Hockey team. You can hear Brody’s story here.
#9 – Scott Sowers
Film producer and director Scott Sowers and his wife Sharon live in Atlanta and are parents of a special needs daughter, Gloria. Scott and Sharon produced and directed a film called Special Needs about those with special needs and the families who care for them. Learn about Scott’s outreach into the special needs community.
#8 – Jeff Aeder
Molly Aeder, Jeff’s oldest daughter, struggled in school with dyslexia and learning differences. Jeff and his wife Jennifer Levine, were told to send Molly to a large school in the suburbs or to a boarding school. Instead, they founded Wolcott School in Chicago — a college prep high school for students with learning differences. Learn more about Jeff, Wolcott School, his restaurants that employ adults of all abilities and the Jewish Baseball Museum.
#7 – Clayton Frech
Ezra Frech, Clayton’s 12 year old son, was born different: he was missing his left knee and had only one finger on his left hand. Ezra received a prosthetic leg and had toe to hand surgery at 2 1/2 years old. Clayton went on to create Angel City Sports, which offers sports programming in Southern California for kids, adults & veterans with physical disabilities or impairments. Read more about Clayton and Ezra Frech.
#6 – Paul Gianni
Paul and his wife Nancy are co-founders of Gigi’s Playhouse, an achievement center for children like daughter Gigi who have Down Syndrome. There are now more than 30 Gigi’s Playhouses across the country. Listen to Paul share his life with and commitment to his special daughter, Gigi and all those with Down Syndrome.
#5- Joe Mantegna
Movie, television and Broadway star Joe Mantenga and his wife Arlene discovered that daughter Mia — at two and a half years old — was autistic. Joe shares his journey with listeners of raising a child with autism. Listen to Joe’s story here.
#4 – Jim Elliott
Jim Elliott, the father of two daughters with disabilities and founder of Diveheart.org, changes lives of people with all types of abilities through scuba diving, scuba therapy and related activities. See how special children build confidence with Diveheart.org.
#3 – Skip Gianopulos
Skip Gianopulos Is the father of four daughters; two with Down Syndrome. Take a listen to see just how this man’s life has been changed, and how he’s helped change the lives of many more through his work with GiGi’s Playhouse. Hear Skip’s story.
#2 – Randy Lewis
Randy Lewis was transformed by his son’s autism, and it would lead him to transform the lives of thousands of other “differently-abled” Americans. Here is former Walgreens executive Randy Lewis’ incredible story.
#1 – Tony Oommen
This is the story of a virus that changed 6-year-old Ben Oommen’s life forever, leaving him with a dramatic brain injury. Listen to Tony’s heartfelt story and his deep devotion to his faith and family. Listen to Tony Oommen’s special story.
Additional Podcast Interviews
#2 – David Hirsch iHeart Radio
David Hirsch, founder of 21st Century Dads, discusses the Special Fathers Network with iHeart Media-Chicago. David’s heartfelt interview will move and encourage many to help support the SFN mission. You can listen to the interview here.
#1 – David Hirsch Our American Stories
David Hirsch grew up without his father, and was fearful about imposing the same future on his own children. We dive into David’s life and how it led him to become one of the country’s strongest advocates for fatherhood. Listen to the entire “Our American Stories” podcast here.