Milwaukee Fatherhood Summit helping dads become better fathers

CREATED Oct. 12, 2012

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  • Shelley Walcott reports Video by wtmj.com

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MILWAUKEE- Being a father isn't easy -- especially if you are facing your own challenges.

There was a huge turnout Friday at the Milwaukee Fatherhood Summit.  That is an event for men who, quite frankly, want to become better fathers.

Donald Thornton hopes the fatherhood summit can turn his life around.

"I'm going through a little change in life now.  By being incarcerated so much and being out of my daughter's life, it's time for a change," says Thornton.

The seventh annual event targets fathers facing obstacles.

"The lack of employment.  The lack of access to resources.  The lack of education.  All of these things become a factor in how men are effective when it comes to raising families," says Dennis Walton of the Milwaukee Fatherhood Institute.

Hundreds of men at the summit have access to a job and education fair as well as getting driver's licenses restored, child support case managers and even barbers offering free hair cuts.

They're also giving out clothing items that dads can give to their kids.  Things like belts or pairs of pants or winter jackets.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett calls it getting back to basics.

"It's not always about taking your kids on a fishing trip or giving them the fancy toys," says Barrett.  "Sometimes it's just about being there when they need you there."

Fathers like Donald Thornton are grateful for all this kind of support.

"I just want to be a better person to my children and to society.  And this is wonderful."

The Milwaukee Fatherhood Summit continues at 7 a.m on Saturday and runs until 3 p.m.