Fathering Expert Brings His Focus to Fairport

Joe Kelly Talks about the power of dads to impact body image and self esteem

June 04, 2009

Joe Kelly

Just in time for Father’s Day, nationally known parenting expert Joe Kelly comes to the area to speak with parents about the powerful and often underestimated impact of fathers and other male mentors on the development of self worth and body esteem in kids. Kelly presents “What Dad Sees: How Dads, Stepdads and Other Men are Key to Kids’ Self-Worth and Body Image” from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, at Fairport High School, 1 Dave Paddock Way. 

Kelly will describe why connections with fathers and other men at home, at school and in the community are critical to the development of kids’ self worth and positive body image and how the observations and values that fathers and other men share with kids can powerfully shape their perceptions of themselves, their bodies and their relationships with others.

“Many men don’t realize the immense influence we have to inspire, understand and support kids every day,” said Kelly. “With so many stresses challenging the well-being of our children and families, we have to consciously suit up and show up every day.”

A well-respected author and activist, he has appeared on “The Today Show” and “Fox News” and has been featured in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, USA Today, People and dozens of other media outlets. Kelly has written seven books and blogs for several sites including his own, The Dad Man.

“Western culture traditionally socializes men to be independent, autonomous and to avoid expressing emotion. This experience leaves many men feeling less confident and competent in practicing relational skills required to build intimate connections with children and adolescents,” said Mary Tantillo Ph.D., R.N. C.S., associate professor at the University of Rochester School of Nursing and director of the Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders (WNYCCCED), one of the groups sponsoring  Kelly’s visit. “Joe will discuss how the important men in the lives of children and teens can build and deepen their connections with kids and how women can support men in these efforts.”

Kelly’s talk is free as is a special presentation for children accompanying parents. “The Game Plan” will be screened and adult supervision provided from 7 to 9 p.m.  Following the movie, children will have the chance to discuss “What Kids Really Want from Their Dads and Other Important Men in Their Lives.”

In addition, a number of events designed to bring families together will take place at Fairport High School prior to Kelly’s talk. Starting at 5 p.m., parents and kids can take part in various games and enjoy music by Phoenix, a country rock band, and the Young Men’s Chorus from Barker Road Middle School. There will be an exhibit of essays and photos by Fairport and Pittsford middle school students regarding the important men in their lives. Attendees also can enjoy a chicken barbeque. Tickets are $10 for adults, $4 for children. To register for the event, call Laurie Naber at 273-5108 by June 12.

Co-sponsors of Kelly’s visit include the Leadership and Education in Adolescent Health Training Program, the Eating Disorders Recovery Center of Western New York (funded by New York State Department of Health) and Fairport and Pittsford Central School Districts.

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Susan Fandel
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