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Poppa was a playa

Unfortunately, many fathers don’t know how to be dads because they many were faithless themselves.

But, thanks to Baltimore’s Center for Urban Family in West Baltimore, about two dozen determined fathers attend a fatherhood specialist class, so they can ante-up on their daddy skills.

Fatherhood specialist Edward Pitchford discusses topics such as how to calmly and effectively communicate with the mother of their children and nurturing their kids, not just paying child support and staying mentally strong while looking for jobs, to name a few.

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One of the students at fatherhood center is 40-year old, Lakeeth Blackmon, who has six kids–with three different women–and has been to jail on a few occasions. “This is my sanctuary, a place where I can be myself and meet good people and not get caught up with what’s going on in the streets.”

Blackmon continues: “Look at my life: I don’t even know if I’m going back to prison, but I’m here being positive,” says Blackmon,whose father was a drug dealer and was murdered 20 years ago. Blackmon is trying to break the fatherless cycle that’s plagued his family, Blackmon said to NPR.

Kenneth Edwards, 30, is a father of four and his idea of fatherhood came from shows such as Full House and Family Matters, which doesn’t resemble real-life for many inner-city families. So, Edwards attends classes so he can learn parenting skills. “This crazy environment with all these drug dealers and people using drugs, just chaos. There was absolutely no role models, I would say, besides the television.”

Joseph Jones, President of Center for Urban Families in West Baltimore created the the program nearly 20 years ago after he noticed that most of the social programs catered to mothers and children.

“How do you develop behavior when you don’t see it? “How do you become a man if you’ve never seen somebody be a man, if the people in your life have abdicated their responsibilities and left you as a little person?”

To read the entire article on NPR click here.

Darryl Robertson (@darryl_robertson)