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Zhawin Gonzalez is a single father taking care of his three young boys in Minneapolis. As a full-time student at Augsburg college, Zhawin is double majoring in American Indian Studies and Communications. He holds an AA in Liberal Arts from Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where he served as a Student Senate Officer. Before graduation, Zhawin launched his path by participating in the FATHER (Fostering Actions To Help Earnings and Responsibility) Project, a nationally recognized program in Minneapolis. Through the FATHER Project he gained specialization in child development, achieving certificates as a Parent Group Facilitator and in Employment Readiness Training.
His passion for child development inspired him to partner with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe to facilitate his own parenting classes. He later served on the FATHER Project Division of Indian Work, which has contributed to the Native community for more than 64 years by providing programs such as Youth Leadership Development Program (YLDP), Strengthening Family Circles, and Healing Spirit and Health Services. In 2013, Zhawin was awarded the Father of the Year Award by the Festivals of Fathers and Families for his passion and dedication to creating healthy and happy families by building up and supporting fathers and the roles they play in the families and community. He currently serves as a Parent Leader on the Parent Leadership for Child Safety and Permanency (PLCSP) Team.