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Health Department Provides Platform to Recognize, Mentor and Equip Fathers with Better Parenting Skills1
Some of the fathers who participated in the forum.

Health Department Provides Platform to Recognize, Mentor and Equip Fathers with Better Parenting Skills

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Since 2016, the St. Elizabeth Health Department (SEHD) has been  providing a platform for fathers to equip them with better parenting skills,  mentorship opportunities and recognition for playing an invaluable role in  the lives of their children.

Health Department Provides Platform to Recognize, Mentor and Equip Fathers with Better Parenting Skills3
Some of the fathers participating in one of the presentations, which explored how fathers can develop healthy relationships with their children.


After a break due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, some 50 fathers gathered  at the St. Matthew’s Anglican Church hall in St. Elizabeth on Thursday,  June 30, for the fifth staging of the Fathers of Excellence Forum, focused  on the theme, “Fathers Matter”.  

The initiative is the brainchild of Parish Medical Social Worker from the  SEHD, Paul Smith, who explained that the forum has been highlighting the  excellent work of fathers and also improving the performance of other  fathers who need help.

Health Department Provides Platform to Recognize, Mentor and Equip Fathers with Better Parenting Skills2
Organizer of the Fathers of Excellence Forum, Mr. Paul Smith.


The Medical Social Worker added that based on the evidences of various  studies which have shown the impact of fatherlessness on society, fathers  who are playing their roles must be found, acknowledged and  empowered.

Health Department Provides Platform to Recognize, Mentor and Equip Fathers with Better Parenting Skills1
Some of the fathers who participated in the forum.


“The fathers look forward to this yearly event. We have not had it since  the advent of the COVID-19 Pandemic and after two years we are now  back face to face. The fathers have been quite participative and  welcoming to the presentations geared towards improving their roles as  fathers and highlighting their importance in the lives of their children. They  really appreciate what is being done for them and I believe that it is time  that fathers get the highlight and the importance that is due to them” Mr.  Smith said.

He added that a support group and mentorship programme has been  formed to support the fathers who need assistance.

For Everod Lewis, who has been a participant in the programme since its  inception, the forum has had a tremendous and positive impact on him  as a father.  

“Over the years I have discovered fathers have been getting a bad rap and we have not been getting the milestone that we deserve as a result  of those fathers who are reluctant to step up to their responsibilities. I think  the good ones need to be an example especially for the young ones  coming up. We all have different experiences and men don’t tend to rap  about certain things like women do and as we go along we have to be  mindful that strengthening each other is an important factor in any  development” Mr. Lewis said. 

Mr. Lewis, who is also the Chief Public Health Inspector for St. Elizabeth  added that oftentimes men don’t realize the importance of being a  father and need directions.  

“There is hardly a book that is written to say that this is what you ought to  do or what you shouldn’t do and as a result I want to be a contributing  factor to men being better. For the last six years, the impact has been  tremendous on me” Mr. Lewis said.

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Written by Media Writer