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The Father of the Year prize winners highlight fathers' importance and perspect

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 7.11.2011 12.02
Press release -

This year, the prize Father of the Year goes to Jaakko Bashmakov, graphic designer and trainer in visual communication, Seppo Äijälä, engineer, and Risto Tervonen, activities counsellor. The Minister of Health and Social Services Maria Guzenina-Richardson presented the prize in on Monday, 7 November. In addition to the Father of the Year prize, the Minister of Health and Social Services awarded the Commendation for Fatherhood Advocate to Doctor Jouko Huttunen, emeritus lecturer.

The prize was awarded to Jaakko Bashmakov for his activity as a father and for his work to improve the lives of persons with disabilities through the OmaPolku association, which is an organisation for service provision and civic activities. Through work and day activities, the association has created new kinds of paths to successful, education-enhancing activities for persons with intellectual disability who need special support.

Seppo Äijälä received the prize for being a father, a stepfather as well as a foster and family support parent. When he started his current relationship, he became a stepfather to a 7-year-old and found that the role of a parent and an adult came natural to him. Äijälä and his wife have been foster parents since 2003 when the first of three boys was placed in their care. They have also provided peer support for parents since 2007.

Risto Tervonen received the prize for being a father of seven in a step family as well as a voluntary father both in father-child clubs and in family training at maternity and child welfare clinics. He is also an activities counsellor in the project Father. One of Tervonen's accomplishments in the field of father activities is that he founded the first father-child club in his neighbourhood. At the moment Tervonen is activities counsellor in the project Father, which is carried out by Mannerheim League for Child Welfare.

The Commendation for Fatherhood Advocate was awarded to Jouko Huttunen for his life's work in paternity testing, for highlighting the importance of fathers as well as for his activity in organisations and in actions to influence. Huttunen is a distinguished paternity expert, who during his long university career has focused expressly on paternity. Huttunen is also the chairman of the Finnish Multiple Births Association.

Facts about the prize

The prize Father of the Year is awarded to a person who has by his own example and work promoted recognition of the significance of fatherhood and thus increased its appreciation. The aim of the prize is to put active fatherhood on a firmer footing in people's thinking. The goal is to strengthen fatherhood, support the reconciliation of work and family life, promote the child's best interests, and to boost gender equality. The prize Father of the year was awarded for the first time in 2006. The patron of the prize is Doctor Pentti Arajärvi.

Further information

Jaakko Bashmakov, Father of the Year, tel. 0400-841 942, jaakko.bashmakov(at)
Seppo Äijälä, Father of the Year, tel. 050 544 5656, seppo.aijala(at)
Risto Tervonen, Father of the year, tel. 0400 424 683, tervonen.risto(at)

Jouko Huttunen, Fatherhood Advocate Commendation, tel. 040 738 1014 or 040 565 1671, jouko.huttunen(at)
Hanna Onwen-Huma, Senior Officer, tel. +358 9 160 4671946, [email protected]

Related topcis

Family policy

Maria Guzenina-Richardson
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