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Giving A Voice To Dads

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- As we head into Father's Day weekend, one group is trying the re-emphasize the importance of dads in the community.

The 'Dads' Voice Project' held a forum Wednesday night to discuss that role, and the challenges fathers face.

The discussion was about starting the dialogue - dialogue organizers say isn't happening often enough. It all starts with dads stepping up and reaching out.

"I had a young man come up, he was talking to me, yesterday talking about how he wish he could be close to his father," said one father in attendance.

They were honest conversations about loss, love and the joy and pain that comes with being a father in America.

"One of the things we're looking for is to give dads a voice," says Frederick Newell, a Minority Family Advocate.

Those voices gathered to share their own experiences, while figuring out how to create a better future for their own kids.

Many dads say there are outside factors hindering their efforts. They include things like housing and health departments, right down to the courts - specifically when it comes to custody.

"The court system has rules and regulations they have to abide by - that's why a lot of dads become so disengaged," Newell says.

It's not just the systems to blame, however. Robert Jackson with the Dad's Voice Project says fathers have to make the extra effort.

"If we engage with our kids, and become a part of our kids' life, it's probably going to help our whole system," Jackson says.

Events like this show the resources and support for better parenting exists, and these conversations help - all some dads need is a push in the right direction.

"Once they're there, we see amazing things happen - it's just getting them there."

These conversations are far from over. The group hopes to hold more events like this for dads starting in July.
 
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