The Lexington Leadership Foundation’s Fatherhood Initiative celebrated dads at Douglass Park Saturday.
Director David Cozart said the initiative is dedicated to educating men and the greater community about the importance of fathers being present in their families.
“The Fatherhood Initiative seeks to restore, equip and deploy men back in the family, the faith community and the community at large to enhance life outcomes of children, of families and neighborhoods,” he said.
Mayor Linda Gorton and Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers were at the event.
Visitors explored a sea of tents giving out resources on employment, household supplies and healthcare information.
“We’re letting fathers, as well as families know about prostate health and the importance of having a primary care provider,” volunteer Quentin Moore said.
Moore said he returns to the event every year with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. because he wants to raise awareness of issues that are important to the African American community.
“The father is very important, whether you are a biological father or just someone who is a mentor to a young man or a young woman,” he said.
For the family nurse practitioner and father, it’s personal.
“I grew up without a father in my home,” Moore said. “I would like to come out and be able to touch someone else who doesn’t have that father in their home, the father’s absent, and show them that positive role model, show them that you don’t have to be another statistic.”
Facts about the role fathers play lined the paths in the park. One led to a prayer wall.
“Fathers have a lot going on, fathers need prayer, families need prayer, the nation needs prayer,” Fatherhood Initiative volunteer Rev. Felix Ross said.
Rev. Ross said it’s a safe place where men can share their load.
The t-shirts coloring the park symbolized what families have gone through this past year.
“That’s why we have ‘unbroken,’ Cozart said. “We’ve been through a bending time, but we remained unbroken even through that.”
Local leaders encouraged men, young and old, to embrace their role.
“You don’t have to be perfect, just be present,” Cozart said.
He said giving men a boost will strengthen the generations to come.
“I hope they feel that there is a community that absolutely believes in them and supports them.”
Free COVID-19 vaccines were offered at the event.