Since its inaugural staging in 2015, the Men’s Conference staged by the St. Elizabeth Health Services in St. Elizabeth, has been making strides, creating a platform for men to be motivated and recognized for their invaluable role in their children’s’ lives, in addition to equipping them with better parenting skills.
For organizer of the conference, Paul Smith, who is the Parish Medical Social Worker at the St. Elizabeth Health Services, the forum also provides opportunities for the participants to be mentored. He added that based on the evidences that various studies have concluded in relation to the impact of fatherlessness on society, fathers who are actually playing their roles must be found, acknowledged and empowered.
Some 80 men gathered at the Sharon Baptist Church Hall in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth on Thursday, June 27, for this year’s staging, held under the theme, “Man Up…A Call to Action”. “The forum has been a tremendous success over the years; however, I feel extremely satisfied about this year’s conference. This conference was different from the others because in previous years the focus was only on fathers.
This year the scope was broader and we targeted men whether they were a father or not. We explored issues like domestic violence, parenting and stress and we also broadened the focus on men’s health. The men were provided with blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol tests, HIV testing, electrocardiogram-ECG screening and screening for prostate cancer” Smith explained.
The Medical Social Worker appealed to the men to be the agent of change in rebuilding the walls of fatherhood around families, adding that fathers have to teach boys to be good men and girls to be good women. “It is important that as fathers you care for your children; give them attention, love and respect the mother of your children, be the change and end domestic violence. We need to change what is happening” Smith urged.