Side-by-Side Conference:one man’s perspective

Chris Pellerin, Support for Dads
New Brunswick

Support for Dads is honoured to be attending and presenting at the 2nd Canadian National Fatherhood Conference in Winnipeg, MB, hosted by Dad Central Canada. Taking part in a coming together of like-minded individuals focusing on strategies for working with vulnerable dads is truly an eye-opening experience. A sold-out event, it has attracted professionals and fathers from coast to coast.

Dad Central sent a call out to organizations across the country to take part as presenters for workshops during the conference and was flooded with responses, showing that organizations across the country are in tune with the fact that fathers are becoming an increasingly important part of the cog that make up the modern-day family dynamic. Dads are truly, ‘The Other Essential Parent’.

The first full-day of the conference began with a rousing story from the MLA from Fort Rouge, Wab Kinew, reminding us of the profound effects on fathers of the residential school system. This was followed by a key note speech by the conference organizer and head of Dad Central Ontario, Brian Russell who focused on Dads on the Edge: Reaching Men on the Fringes of Parenting. The participants were then led into a round of workshops ranging from Incarcerated Dads to a workshop on Positive Fatherhood Involvement.

The afternoon session was just as thrilling including a knowledge sharing forum and a question and answer session from two vulnerable dads sharing their own personal stories, truly inspiring! The afternoon finished off with another round of workshops including a workshop answering the question: Do Men Experience Domestic Violence? and a great session called: Creating a Father’s Program from an Aboriginal Perspective.

The dads being addressed at the conference include young dads, racialized dads, Aboriginal, incarcerated, immigrant/newcomer dads, and of course dads who are involved with child welfare.  Tomorrow’s sessions (Thursday) should be just as exciting and promise once again to tackle the main theme of the conference, vulnerable dads and finding strategies for working with them.

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