Conference to encourage father involvement in children’s lives

October 14, 2010 | Events, UToday
By Samantha Pixler

Community members, mentors and fathers: Your presence is needed in raising your sons here in Toledo and guiding them to success.

Too many young men are abandoned by their fathers and left to find guidance on their own, often resulting in many negative outcomes and social problems, said said the Rev. Dr. Janice Carson, former UT assistant professor of social work. Low academic achievement, school dropouts, drugs and alcohol use, and juvenile crime are prevalent in the lives of children without fathers, and it is our mission to fight for their right to success, she said.

That’s why she founded the Boys 2 Men Conference to encourage fathers to be a part of their sons’ lives and to nurture and guide them to be productive members of society.

The second annual conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, in the Student Union Auditorium. This year’s theme is “Embracing Our Sons.”

“Sons and families with absent fathers deal with severe relationship, emotional and financial issues,” Carson said. “We need the community to embrace our sons and be a part of their lives. The problems that result from father absence lead to ‘father hunger,’ which then leads to many other problems, such as juvenile crime and gangs, to name a few. Then their problems become our problems.”

The speaker for the event will be Larry Sykes, a Toledo native who never knew his father and went on to become a vice president for Fifth Third Bank and longtime member of the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education.

Sykes will discuss the hardships of life without a father and the factors that contributed to his success. He previously was featured in The Blade as a panelist for the Second Annual Lucas County Children Services Fatherhood Summit in downtown Toledo.

“Sharing one’s story helps someone else who went through the same thing as you find support and encouragement,” Carson said.

The conference will be hosted by Charlie Mack of WJUC The Juice 107.3 FM.

Sponsors of the event are The University of Toledo, the Student Social Work Organization, the UT Social Work Program, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Toledo and The Andersons Inc.

For more information on the free, public conference, call 419.474.9767 or visit

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