Fathers we support you!!!
By Dr. Hyacynthia M. Leonce
Many times, when a woman is pregnant, we hear the mother being congratulated and not the fathers. There is much focus on expectant moms but not so much for expectant dads. When the baby shower is planned, many times the center of attention is the mom and the baby, with the dad in the back-ground somewhere.
Well there are fathers in our community that want us to know that they matter. Fathers have a voice when it comes to fatherhood, and they want their voices to be heard. Holly Zwerling and the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida encourage fathers to speak up, be present and stay committed.
Fathers, we support you! Please attend the First Paternal Health Care & Education Conference presented by the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida, (Holly Zwerling, CEO and President) sponsored by Carlos Albizu University, United Way, The Westside Gazette and several others. The conference will be held on Jan. 14, 2017 at Carlos Albizu University 2173 N.W. 99 Ave., Doral, Fla., from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Malcom Solomon, a 28-year-old expectant father and soon to be husband, a participant of the Fatherhood Taskforce and conference attendee said, “I’m hoping to get some key or something to help me once I get married. Men tell you how much freedom will be taken away once you become a father, but they don’t tell you the joys of fatherhood.”
Another participant of the program, Emmanuel Philogene, who was a single father for a 16 years, conveyed, “I want to be an advocate for other fathers. I want to help them a-void what I went through.” When pressed for details about his experience, Emmanuel described a history of having to fight for his paternal rights. He explained how as a father he did not have the law on his side. He stated that he did not know where to turn to get help. He said that his girlfriend seemed to have help from the law, but the system appeared to be pushing him away from his son. As Emmanuel continued to summarize his plight in fighting for his son you can hear the passion is his voice. Finally, Emmanuel relayed how he came to the point of learning about the law when it comes to his rights as a father and how he can best be in his child’s life. He expressed how he was enlightened by a friend who encouraged him to educate himself about his rights as opposed to fighting the mother and losing in the end. He went on to say, “a father’s role is most important in a child’s life.” Emmanuel’s son is currently 16 years old and living with his mother with his father’s approval. He describes how those early years was instrumental to their father-son relationship and now that bond cannot be easily broken.
Zwerling says, “the goal of the First Paternal Health & Education Conference is to increase the number of fathers healthy and informed in preparation for parenthood for the benefit of their children.” Also, it “encourages legislation that addresses and provides appropriations for paternal health care screenings and follow-up which will close the gap in services for new and expectant dads.”
PRLog states that the conference highlights “the importance of fathers’ health, parenting knowledge, skills and involvement in planning, preparing and adapting to fatherhood.
This groundbreaking Conference will focus on men’s health, well-being and how their preparation for parenthood affects pregnancy, birth outcomes and their growing child’s well-being. The Conference brings together new, expectant and future fathers and families with medical and clinical professionals, local leaders, and community partners. Attendance free of charge. Through participatory sessions, men will gain insightful information on health, effective parenting and receive free health screenings by Doral Pro Health.”