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Nationally renowned journalist Ed Gordon, who is also an advocate for responsible fatherhood by creating Daddy’s Promise Inc, and Dan Mulhern, husband of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, are among those to speak at the April 22-23 “Strong Fathers/Strong Families” conference at the Samaritan Center on Detroit’s east side.

Under the theme “Building, Renewing and Healing the Connection,” the conference, organized by the Detroit Fathers and Families Coalition, led by its executive director, Robin Wright King, the conference will have three workshop areas: Healthy Fathers/Healthy Families; Responsible Fatherhood; and Father/Daughter Relationships.

A special highlight of the conference will be a banquet on the evening of April 23 called the All Star Dads Father and Daughter Banquet, which Gordon of Black Entertainment Media will keynote.

King expects 10 to 15 daughters through a variety of means (ranging from the traditional nuclear family to challenges such as unemployment or incarceration) to attend the banquet and be honored.

With regard to men who are doing their best to be a father to their children while incarcerated, King participated in a program earlier this year where children were brought into prison to visit their fathers for a full day of activity. She learned that some fathers are able to maintain relationship with their children because the children’s guardians will bring them in for visitation two to three times a month. The fathers are also able to keep connected with their children through e-mail and/or phone calls.

“It’s creative parenting, but it’s fathers who want to stay in touch with their children,” King said.

This conference will become an annual event of the Detroit Fathers and Families Coalition. The organization’s main focus is to try to bring educational resources to fatherhood practitioners  as well as to fathers and families in the Metro Detroit area.

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