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 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(ren) 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 16, 2014.
In addition to honoring fathers on this day, scholarships will be awarded to current year graduating high school seniors to assist them in their pursuit of a college education. Students must apply and complete all of the requirements outlined on the Scholarship Application Form.
Special consideration will be given to those students pursuing a career in the health sciences, pharmaceutical science, technology, entertainment (film, television), insurance, automotive, environmental science, banking and law.
MEF will award scholarships to a person between the ages of 25 to 40 who delayed his/her college education, for personal or financial reasons, and has now decided to pursue a college degree. We believe awarding college scholarships to these adults addresses our mission to economically strengthen our communities.
The scholarship program is open to persons residing throughout greater Los Angeles County, with specific emphasis on the underserved communities of Lynwood, Compton, Carson, Gardena, Hawthorne and Lawndale. The scholarship application deadline is May 16, 2014.
A special scholarship will be awarded to a student pursuing a career in nursing. The Nursing scholarship is awarded in memory of Judge Mablean’s mother, Mable Ephriam, who died on February 9, 2010. She was a nurse by vocation.
This Scholarship will be awarded to any person between the ages of 18 years and 35 years, who is pursuing a degree in nursing and has completed at least one (1) year in a nursing program. The applicant must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
Proof of enrollment and completion of one year is required. The Applicant must display compassion for the sick and elderly and must have demonstrated the same, either by providing care for a relative, friend or by volunteer work in a hospital, a residential care facility, convalescent home, or skilled nursing facility.
The Scholarship will be ongoing and available to the recipient each year of enrollment until the completion of his/her nursing degree as long as the recipient meets the qualifications outlined above.
This scholarship will be awarded to a current year high school graduate who will be attending Howard University in the fall. Proof of acceptance to Howard University must be provided to receive funding. The scholarship is funded by a Howard University Alumni, who is also an MEF board member.
Scholarships will be awarded to a current year Thomas Jefferson High School (1319 E. 41st St. Los Angeles, CA) graduate. It is funded by the TJHS Class of 1967 Alumni, of which the President/Founder is a member.