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Workshop Will Bring Together Boys and Men, Fathers and Sons

Nov. 27, 2007 — Sons, fathers and father figures will spend Saturday together doing an array of manly educational activities at the St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center.
Young men and their fathers or another older male role model will attend a series of workshops on topics such as auto mechanics, parenting skills, drafting, conflict resolution, upholstery and being responsible about sex. The CTEC Parental Advisory Committee (PAC) organized the event and is billing the all-day affair as a "Men's Carousel."
It is presented as a father-and-son event, but attendees do not have to have a biological relationship, and male students who do not have an adult male active in their lives are also invited to attend. Students who participate in the Men's Carousel will earn eight hours of community-service time, too, according to a news release issued by the PAC.
"We've signed up 75 boys and 75 men, primarily father and son," said organizer Cenita Heywood Tuesday. "We are not about turning anyone away though. If 250 show up, we will find a way to include everyone."
Teachers and members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity are helping to pair up as older role models and surrogate fathers for some of the kids, too, Heywood said.
"The primary function is to give men and boys an opportunity to bond and to work on parenting skills," she said.
For the last six years, the PAC has organized a similar workshop called "Parents as Partners," which has been very successful, but the parents attending have mostly been women, Heywood said.
"McKenzie decided to do something just for the men," she said. "The workshops are an opportunity for men and sons to do something together."
The event is the brainchild of fellow PAC member Carolyn McKenzie, Heywood said, before calling McKenzie to the phone.
Teachers, churches and community groups have all volunteered time and resources, McKenzie said.
"We have people from V.I. PUSH (Parents Uniting Schools and Homes), from the police department, from Lutheran Social Services and from The Village — V.I. Partners in Recovery," she said. "We have a pretty wide representation of people who have given up their time to help. And the Virgin Islands National Guard will be leading the conflict-resolution seminar."
The day of workshops is open to all boys and young men ages 11 and up.
"We don’t have an upper age limit, and it doesn't matter what school you are from," McKenzie said. "It is open to the public."
Call McKenzie or Heywood at 778-2216 for more information.
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