Fatherhood conference Saturday in Riverdale

By Curt Yeomans


U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) points to his father, Albert Scott, a minister, as the person who molded the congressman into who he is today.

As a child, the lawmaker said, he participated in weekly Bible lessons with his father. He said his father, whom he described as "a good man," taught him the value of helping other people.

"He taught me the scriptures, and the importance of serving the needs of others, and I've had that as my role model ever since," David Scott said.

David Scott, along with the Atlanta-based non-profit mentoring group, Shoot the Hoop, Inc., and the Atlanta Community Engagement Team, the Technical College System of Georgia's Georgia Fatherhood program, and Chick-fil-A, are sponsoring the "Fatherhood Conference" on Saturday from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., at Charles R. Drew High School, which is located at 6237 Garden Walk Blvd., in Riverdale.

Admission is free, according to a flier for the event, but those who wish to participate in the event must RSVP by April 16, through an online registration form, which can be found at www.shootthehoop.org/.

According to a copy of the program for the conference, in addition to a keynote address by David Scott, there will also be sessions dealing with the topics of health, education, employment, public policy, and morale and spirituality.

"This family symposium aims to initiate positive steps for social change, to put hope back into our communities, by uplifting fathers," said Shoot the Hoop, Inc., Spokesperson Ronald K. Garner, in a written statement. "Through strong fathers, we can instill in our young men, and women, a spirit that will allow them to dream beyond their current circumstances."

David Scott said the lack of a strong father figure in the lives of children is one reason youths turn to groups, such as street gangs, for acceptance and male mentoring.

"They look to a male figure in their lives for acceptance and a sense of belonging, and mostly that's the father figure," he said. "But, if the father is not around, they look for some other male figure to provide that sense of acceptance and belonging."

The congressman added that whether someone is a father to a child is not necessarily dictated by biological ties to the youth, but rather, by the role the male plays in the life of that child. "Making a baby doesn't make you a father," he said. "What makes a father is taking care of that baby, and that baby's mother."


On the Net:

Shoot the Hoop, Inc.: www.shootthehoop.org