A father plays a crucial role in the development of a child and in the support system of a family ó the New Hanover County Partnership for Fatherhood is working to embolden this message throughout the Wilmington community.
The 6th annual Partnership for Fatherhood Conference will be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, March 10, at the First Baptist Church Activity Center. The theme, "Daddy Letís Talk: Strengthening Relationships Through Communication" will touch on the importance of co-parenting.
Glen Warren, the founder of Fathers Forever in Raleigh, N.C., will deliver the keynote speech. Fathers Forever is a nonprofit that provides instruction for men in the midst of separation or divorce about being better fathers.
"The best parent is both parents," said Warren, touching on the conferenceís theme. "Working together and putting aside all the frustration that they have with one another and focus on raising their kids."
Warren started Fathers Forever two-and-a-half years ago. The inspiration for the nonprofit stemmed from his own story as a father in a separated family. He said that he understands the importance of a fatherís presence in a childís life and also the need to continue to support children financially.
Another point that Warren will touch on is the effect a fatherís absence can have on a childís development. Drug abuse and anger issues, among other unwanted characteristics, all had one common denominator, Warren said, and that was the lack of a father.
"A lot of times the essence of a lot of the problems in our society is the lack of fatherhood," he said.
The Father Forever classes that Warren teaches last four weeks. In his last class of more than 40 people, he reported that 80 percent of the graduates got jobs and increased child support contributions. Graduates also said that relationships with ex-wives, wives, girlfriends and ex-girlfriends improved.
"I will also talk about fathers leaving a legacy for their kids," Warren said, "and pointing them in the right direction for their destiny and purpose."
In addition to Warren, the Hon. Judge Kristin Ruth of Wake County and Lanita Sunshine Patterson of Planned Parenthood of Columbia, S.C. will also speak. Workshops will be offered for attending fathers and teenagers. Teen workshops will focus on bettering communication with their parents, said Angelina Bernard, chair for the Partnership for Fatherhood.
The conference will be hosted by the New Hanover County Partnership for Fatherhood, a group of community agencies dedicated to increasing the number of children that grow up with a responsible father that is active in their lives. The directors of Social Services and Child Support founded the Partnership for Fatherhood in 2006.