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Ceres conference set to hail role of dads

Ceres Unified School District will host a Ceres Fathers Conference on Saturday, March 23 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Argus High School, 2555 Lawrence Street, Ceres. The second annual conference, which is free to the public, includes breakfast, lunch, product giveaways, and opportunities for dads and other male role models to access resources and connect with one another through activities and presentations.

The Ceres Fathers Conference began last year when a team of CUSD leaders saw a need within the community and organized the event. Alfonso Navarro, principal of Caswell Elementary School and an event organizer, cites a study of the psychiatry department of Massachusetts General Hospital that details the overwhelmingly positive impact when dads are actively involved in their child’s life. The study was released as The Fatherhood Project.

“Children who feel a closeness to their fathers not only perform better academically, but are 75 percent less likely to have a teen birth, 80 percent less likely to spend time in jail, and half as likely to experience multiple depression symptoms,” said Navarro. “Often, there is a desire to connect but fathers face obstacles or underestimate the power of their influence. If we can help nurture and support these relationships, we can change student outcomes for the better.”

An event flier promises “Stories of resiliency, tradition and rising against the odds,” along with an opportunity to win a new barbeque grill for those who register in advance.

Parents or guardians may register for the Ceres Fathers Conference at their child’s school; or by e-mailing Lorena Rivas at or phone 556-1620. Limited childcare is available by reservation.

Sponsors of the conference include Adkison Elementary School, Caswell Dual Language Academy, Carroll Fowler Elementary School, Lucas Dual Language Academy, Sinclear Elementary School, Mae Hensley Junior High School, the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Project YES, Parent Resource Center, Golden Valley Health Centers, and El Concilo.