“The tragedy of absent fathers.” That’s what Heritage’s Chuck Donovan calls it in an op-ed for the McClatchy-Tribune wire service on the social consequences of the fast-rising number of births outside marriage in neighborhoods across America, “where large numbers of males refuse to mentor or monitor their own children.”

Several teen-agers charged in two gruesome homicide cases in Washington, D.C., Donovan wrote, had something in common: They were on the lam from juvenile lockups—and their fathers weren’t in their lives.

As a prelude to Father’s Day, watch and listen here to a different rap altogether. In it, a young man from Milwaukee named Lamar Jude thanks God for a father who isn’t absent.

Jennifer Marshall, director of Heritage’s DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society, heard this and other encouraging stories when she and two colleagues recently visited Milwaukee to learn about the fruit of an innovative “Violence Free Zone” (VFZ) program run by social entrepreneurs in some of the city’s toughest schools.

Lamar, a senior at Custer High School, performed his pro-father rap June 4 during the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise’s Staying True Awards for students making strides in character and academic achievement thanks to the VFZ initiative.