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dad and daughter

What if every girl got the dad she deserves? What would that world look like?

Since my daughters were born, I've been wondering - what do they need from me? What does a daughter need from her dad? I started asking women a simple question: What’s your best memory of your dad? Their answers led to here: The Every Sunday Project, a project devoted to helping dads create extraordinary relationships with their daughters.  

father and daughter

THE EVERY SUNDAY PROJECT is inspired by the life of Frank Dearborn, a father who built an extraordinary relationship with his daughter. When Donna left for college, Frank told her he would write her a letter, every Sunday. She promised to write back, and for 32 years they wrote those letters. 


Then Frank suffered a stroke. Sadly, the weekly letters were replaced by Sunday visits to the nursing home. But Donna was determined to keep the memory of her once vigorous dad alive. She began telling him stories about their many adventures from a lifetime together. After his death she gathered the stories and 32 years of letters and wrote a tribute to their relationship: Every Sunday: A Father and Daughter’s Enduring Connection.It's a true love story, the story of a girl who got the dad she deserved.

Frank dearborn Every Sunday

Frank set my standard for how a good dad shows up for his daughter, but he's not alone - there are many Extraordinary Dads and Good Men out there who represent what The Every Sunday Project is about.

Bob Belknap and daughters
dads making memories
dads and daughters teen years

Father, Founder of The Every Sunday Project, Coach, Public Speaker

What if every girl got the dad she deserves? What would that world look like? I would like to have that conversation with you. 


In 2001 a baby girl named Elizabeth was born in Texas. She didn’t have a safe place to live, so five days later she was placed in a foster home, Janice’s and my home in Houston. Two years later, Elizabeth’s sister, Rachel, was born in the same situation - and ended up in the same place, united with her sister.


Opening our home to these two girls transformed my life and inspired me to make a big change. I decided to not only adopt Elizabeth and Rachel, but to also end my corporate career to pursue a new one: full-time Dad.

When Elizabeth and Rachel were born, the rest of my life became clear - I would be their dad, a good one I hoped. But how? What did they need from me? Answering this question became a passion of mine and I know I’m not alone.

I had what turned out to be a good idea – I started talking to women about their dads. Duh. I asked them to tell me their best memories.

I can spot a woman who had a great dad the moment I ask the question. I can see it in her face before she says a word. I can also spot a woman who didn't have a great dad. She’s searching for a memory that isn’t there or trying to forget some that are. She will spend the rest of her life wondering about what might have been if she had a different dad.

Their stories became the inspiration for my early years of parenting Elizabeth and Rachel.

One day you're going to see her somewhere and it's going to hit you: She isn't your little girl anymore. When did that happen? Hips, breasts, hormones, moods.  Welcome to the teen years, the best years of parenting. Said no parent ever.

Studies show Dads start to withdraw from their daughters in these years. The relationship becomes awkward. Your daughter can feel like the embodiment of that swirling jar of numbered balls at a bingo game. A random ball comes out - N2 sweet little girl, B3 - sulking girl, G16 - mature thoughtful girl. You never know. One morning my youngest came down the stairs, and I said, "Really cute outfit!" "So what your saying is I'm fat!?" she cried.

It can be like that but don't lose heart. This is normal ... your new normal. And though it might not always seem like, she needs you more than ever.

Doing Homework_edited_edited_edited_edited.jpg

Inspired by The Every Sunday Project and what it can mean for not only your family, but others close to you? Not only do I want to hear from you, but I also want to help. Spreading the word about the power of exceptional father-daughter relationships is my mission. That may come in the form of speaking to large or small groups, coaching individuals on where to start this journey, or other kinds of coaching including leadership and life coaching. 


I’m even more interested in your stories: Men, reach out and tell me about the memories and traditions you are creating with your daughters. Women, tell me about your best memories with your dads. I want to hear from you. 

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I was blessed with an amazing dad. No matter how busy he was, my dad always made time to listen—fully present—often guiding me through the process of arriving at the solution myself. Every Sunday I was the lucky recipient of a weekly letter and reminder—“you are loved.” My dad’s faithfulness and boundless love undoubtedly laid the foundation for me to feel loved, confident, positive, and worthy for the rest of my life. I commend Bob Belknap for pursuing this project—such an important, relevant, crucial one!


Donna Dearborn, author of “Every Sunday: A Father and Daughter’s Enduring Connection"

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