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franklin county times

Connecting with children goal of fatherhood initiative conference

By Staff
DAD AT BAT Allen Winham, of Meridian, helps his son, Colby, learn how to play baseball. Helping fathers find time for their children is among the subjects up for discussion at a city-wide conference, which begins tonight. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
May 11, 2001
The importance of fathers being involved in the lives of the children will be stressed this weekend during a city-wide conference.
Officials at the Multi-County Community Service Agency's Responsible Fatherhood Initiative are sponsoring the event which starts tonight at 7 and continues Saturday.
Tonight is the fathers' conference debut, but Harper said he hopes to make the conference at least annual if not more than once a year.
Harper said it is designed to teach and train fathers, including those who are "good fathers but could be better;" and the "deadbeat dad who needs to get involved."
The conference will kick off tonight at Bonita Lakes with a father and family fun night and fish fry. There is no charge.
Saturday's events at Union Station begin with registration at 9 a.m. MCCSA officials will hold all-day seminars and workshop sessions.
Morning sessions will be led by Harper, Elder Joseph Pridges of Pearl, Rev. Matthew Canada of Madison, William Bell, Rev. Wesley Hubbard and Joe Norwood.
A 12:30 p.m. luncheon will feature key note speaker Lee May. May has published a collection of essays, "Gardening Life," and a memoir entitled "In My Father's Garden." He is a senior contributing editor for Southern Accents magazine and writes gardening columns for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor's in English from Cleveland State University. He began his journalism career in 1971 at The Cleveland Press. Besides a broad range of television, print and radio freelancing, May wrote for The Los Angeles Times for 12 years.
Other afternoon sessions will be led by Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith and Sollie Norwood, Mississippi Department of Human Services Division of Community Services director. The day will culminate in a spiritual hour led by co-pastors Danny Lanier and Malcolm Lewis of Northcrest Baptist Church.
For more information, contact Harper at 482-9863 or 483-5225.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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