The Founder and President of MEF is Judge Mablean Ephriam, who presided over the Fox television show, Divorce Court from 1999-2006. She is a mother of four, grandmother of nine. She was born in Mississippi and raised in South Central Los Angeles. She has been in the practice of law for over thirty years. Judge Mablean founded MEF as an outgrowth of her personal and professional experiences. She is keenly aware of the alarming rate of illiteracy, the declining quality of our educational system, especially the inner-city schools, the lack of adequate and affordable housing, the high rate of unemployment, the dissipation of the family and declining moral values. She became fed-up with the increased rate of fatherless homes, due to imprisonment, divorce, unwanted pregnancies, drug abuse and suicide, especially in African-American and Latino-Hispanic families. She witnessed the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, the advantaged and disadvantaged. Therefore, she decided to do something to address these conditions and hopefully change the circumstances.
In 2003, Judge Mablean decided to host a brunch and awards program to celebrate fathers. She believed that if we accentuated the positive and de-emphasized the negative, more fathers would become involved in the lives of their children, thus strengthening families. Within three months of that decision, she became the founder and host of the Honoring Unsung Fathers (H.U.F.) Awards and Brunch. This inaugural brunch was held June 15, 2003 in San Pedro, California at the Hilton Marina Hotel. Eight extraordinary fathers were personally selected by Judge Mablean to receive these inaugural awards. The Committee prepared for 250 attendees. Over 400 individuals came. Some even had to be turned away. Due to the overwhelming support for the event, she then decided to make the H.U.F. Awards and Brunch an annual affair.
Judge Mablean used her own funds for the inaugural H.U.F. Awards and Brunch. However, desiring to expand, she decided to apply for non-profit status in order to seek corporate sponsorship and the financial support of other business leaders who shared her concern for better communities. The Foundation applied for its non-profit status in February, 2004 and was granted the same on May 17, 2004.
Given the enthusiasm of the fathers who received the first awards and their families, Judge Mablean decided to open the nominations to the public to allow mothers, wives, children, co-workers, relatives and friends to nominate a father in their lives who deserved to be honored. In 2004, over 75 applications were received. Nominations are now accepted each year in five standing categories: Solo Warrior (single father), Love Cares (married father), Fatherhood Forever (divorced father), Village Dad (non-biological father) and Living Legacy (the elderly role-model father).
To strengthen families: in our communities throughout Los Angeles County, especially Metropolitan and South Central Los Angeles, by providing programs dealing with effective parenting, domestic violence prevention and responsible parenting, especially addressed to fathers.
To provide programs for men and women, to teach them how to become more responsible parents, husbands, wives, and citizens. To sponsor and promote activities, which honor fathers who are responsible parents with an aim toward encouraging other men in the community to be actively involved in the lives of their children, to pay child support, to participate in the health and welfare of their children. To provide mentors and encourage responsible living. To teach moral values, social grace, respect and civic responsibility. To assist economically disadvantaged parents in providing after school programs, and other activities for social development.
To educate minds through the provision of college scholarships, for lower socio-economic and disadvantaged children in Los Angeles County; to prepare our middle school children for college and to be tomorrow’s leaders; tutorial programs; to provide mentors and role models for the youth of the community college; to prepare our youth for college attendance.
To economically empower urban-city families through education and assistance, in first time home ownership, home retention, refinancing, reverse mortgage; banking, investments and savings.
The mission of the Mablean Ephriam Foundation is to build stronger families, educate minds, increase economic power among disadvantaged and lower economic persons and thus create better communities
We believe that the development of good parenting skills and the inclusion of fathers, especially, in the parenting process, serve to strengthen families. We place a lot of emphasis on encouraging fathers to be active in the lives of their children. We provide programs in:
Judge Mablean has an undeniable passion for bringing awareness to domestic violence and providing preventive solutions to reduce its prevalence. As a victim of psychological and physical abuse in her marriage, Judge Mablean has empathy for the appalling effects these actions have on victims, children ,perpetrators, police and the community at large. Thus, MEF provides programs to teach domestic violence prevention, such as anger management classes, conflict resolution, marriage counselling, self-awareness, self-esteem and victim rights as well as punishment for domestic violence.MEF views the participation of fathers and young men key to prevention measures.
Seminars are offered on Domestic Violence Prevention. MEF works closely with local domestic violence shelters and transition homes in Los Angeles, to educate the victims of domestic violence on prevention and available legal remedies available. Domestic Violence counseling and classes for domestic violence are offered for offenders and victims. This is done as a joint effort to educate the offender and victim and to prevent a reoccurrence of domestic violence acts.
We educate minds through the provision of college scholarships for lower socio-economic and disadvantaged inner city youth in Los Angeles County. We assist in preparing our middle school youth for college and to become tomorrow’s leaders. Guidance is given for SAT testing and college selection. The youth are given cultural enrichment by participating in college tours and other social events to expand their minds and world views. We provide tutorial programs, mentors and role models for the youth of our communities.Our education programs consist of:
We Economically empower urban-city families through education and assistance in first time home ownership, home retention, refinancing, reverse mortgage, banking, investments and savings.
The H.U.F. (Honoring Unsung Fathers) Awards is a special Father's Day annual event, created and hosted by Judge Mablean Ephriam. Judge Mablean believes in the sanctity of marriage and parenthood. Issues surrounding family, especially the presence of a strong, loving and hard working father is very dear to Judge Mablean. She strongly believes that the positive interaction between a supportive and caring father and his child(ren), nurtures the inner spirit, and paves the way toward healthy adulthood and a better society.
The mission of the Awards is to identify and recognize fathers who play a vital role in the development of their child(rens) lives.
The purpose is to reach out to families and communities to celebrate fathers and make Father's Day as special as Mother's Day; to encourage and promote positive fatherhood by spotlighting fathers who accept their role and responsibility and do it well.
Awards are given in the following categories: Solo Warrior (the father who never married the child's mother and who is the primary custodial parent); Love Cares (the married father, living in the home); Fatherhood Forever (the divorced father, who divorced the mother, not the children); The Village Dad (the non-biological father who stepped into the shoes of father); and the Living Legacy (the elderly father, the role model for all other fathers). The winners of these awards are nominated by their children, wives, ex-wives, parents, siblings, other relatives, friends, coworkers and others who know and admire their great qualities. Nominees are primarily from Los Angeles County, but are not limited to Los Angeles County.
In addition to these categories, the Founder, Judge Mablean, presents a Founder's Award to a father hand-picked by her and the Board of Directors also selects a father to receive its award.
All nominees must be current in child support, have no history of child support arrears, domestic violence, child abuse or sexual assault.
Nominations are open to the public and will be accepted until May 20, 2016.