Save Our Sons turns focus to helping black fathers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An organization is calling all fathers to participate in a conference centered around saving young black youth.

Save Our Sons is hosting the event this Saturday.

In May, the group held a rally to mentor young men. Now it is focused on the fathers.

Organizers say 70 percent of men who are incarcerated grew up without their fathers. The conference taking place at Ribault High School is an effort to reconnect fathers with their children.

Thirty-one-year-old barber Ronald Clark is one them. The father of four desires a closer relationship with his children and a daughter from a previous marriage. But learning how to build that relationship is difficult.

"Me as a man, I didn't have my father there. So I want to be there. I want to have that relationship with my kids," Clark said. "I see that it did affect me, because after growing up, I realized I didn't really know how to be a father, how to be a dad."

"The strength of a man in a son's life is one of the most undervalued, under-appreciated realities," said John Guns, founder of Save Our Sons.

He said Saturday's event called Fathers Calling Fathers will provide mentorship to dads through group sessions.

The conference will also help young men between the ages of 10 to 18 manage conflict, resolution, problem solving, and teach them how to interact with police.

Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson will lead that discussion.

"A lot of times they feel like it's a battle between them and police," Jefferson said. "It's not. It's a partnership. Once they learn that, we won't have these issues of them disrespecting authority."

Organizers say the conference is the beginning of a series of workshops and activities geared to helping fathers overcome their past and be successful parents.

"I think I'm a good father now, but I want to be a better father, one that my kids can look up," Clark said.

Fathers Calling Fathers starts at 10 a.m. at Ribault High School. You can register onsite for the conference starting at 8 a.m. The event is free.

To preregister for the event, click here.

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