Garner barbershop creating a buzz about responsible fatherhood

GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- The people who patronize Locs Naturals & More in Garner appreciate the lush plants, artwork and sunlight streaming into the spaces where stylists work on hair that helps clients present positive images. So it's not unusual to hear positive talk about the Black community as well as frank discussions about issues that need attention.

That's how everyone in the shop participated in what organizers of the upcoming NC Fatherhood Conference heard details about the concept.

Joseph Towe III is one of the Barbershop/Salon Buzz facilitators invited to speak on Saturday.

"We are here on behalf of the Family Resource Center, and to talk about the fatherhood conference that is going to be held next week," he said.

An author whose pen name is D. (The 4th Letter) said, while having his locs refreshed, "It's a way to pass along lessons in life. and for elders to plant a seed. Hopefully, that seed will bear fruit and carry on."

Men aren't the only persons speaking up about the value of positive parenting.

Hairstylist Dawn Martin said her father assumed responsibility for her from her youngest moments to the moment when she found a partner as an adult.

"After we got older, he made sure that we were taken care of until he had to hand us off to someone else," she said.

Preparing for the daily responsibilities of fatherhood is key, said shop owner Kentrell Perry: " So there may be a five-minute walk. There may be a five or ten-minute sermon in, something that I can do to get my mind together before I approach my children."

"My current partner, though he is not the father of my child, everything that he does continually shows my daughter this is what you deserve in the future," said Rose Zoutomou as Martin worked on her hair. The way it's supposed to be. And not only showing her that, but how he treats me. Showing her if someone else is not providing what I provide for your mother, there's no need for you to be in that type of relationship."

Organizers credit former president Barack Obama with the concept of having open dialogue in settings like barbershops and salons, where people feel more comfortable opening up about family challenges and ideas that work.

They acknowledged the possibility of awkward attempts to start face-to-face conversations, especially when those relationships are fragile.

"There's always the devices that can be used, to make the contact," said Kelly Henson of Soar for Change. "Extend ourselves. Show that love through a device."

The bottom line for all fathers, said Perry during the candid exchange of ideas: "By empowering ourselves, we can empower the children."

He's done that through Saturday's buzz inside his shop, and by encouraging young men like two brothers who stopped by with snacks for sale to the participants. Jaheen and Amir Peterson own a business, too, called Kookie Krumbs.

You can get involved with the NC Fatherhood movement by registering today for the virtual conference scheduled for June 19 of this month. Go to ncfatherhood.com for that.
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