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Fatherhood Initiative begins second year

The Fatherhood Initiative program begins its second year with a meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Picayune School District Early Head Start campus.

Dr. Josh Braddy, a pastor at New Palestine Church, leads the group, said family service manager Iliana Antunez.

The program’s mission is to create a world where every child can grow up with an involved, responsible and committed father.

Fathers can connect with and support each other through parenting challenges, Antunez said. Some meetings include speakers who will discuss topics like co-parenting, how fathers can improve the relationship with their child, health and how to be a better man.

One of the best-attended meetings last year was a meeting about health where doctors were able to gauge the blood pressure and sugar levels of attendees, Antunez said.

Fathers with kids of all ages are welcome to join the group, not just fathers with kids at Early Head Start. The group also welcomes grandparents, uncles, and men within the community.

“We even have young men who come here because they want to know what to expect and get feedback from fathers who already have children,” Antunez said.

Last year, an average of 50 men attended each meeting, and the group hopes to increase their numbers this year, Antunez said. Women do not attend the meetings, which allows men to open up to other men about their parenting concerns, Antunez said.

“It’s a great men’s group, because they can mentor other young men in the group. They can mentor other fathers and come together for ideas and support,” Antunez said.

This year the group hopes to add events outside of the meetings every other month that the fathers can decide on, Antunez said.

For more information call the Early Head Start at 601-799-4702, or attend a meeting at the campus, located at 1620 Rosa Street in Picayune.