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July 22, 2014

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Event emphasizes importance of fathers

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Kyle B. Hansen

Children — and some dads — take advantage of the bounce houses at the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority’s Father’s Day celebration Saturday at the Pearson Community Center.

Pearson Community Center

For kids, it was a chance to play and eat good food; for dads it was a chance to be recognized and a call to action.

The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority held a special Father’s Day event on Saturday at the Pearson Community Center, 1625 Carey Ave.

There were two bounces houses, face painting and games for the kids, plus lots of free food and entertainment, including a drill team.

“We love mothers, but this weekend it’s all about the fathers,” said Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, who was the master of ceremonies. “Lots of times we hear all the negative things about men, but...we have some amazing, phenomenal men here today.”

The Southern Nevada Housing Authority was one of about 200 agencies in 34 states holding father-focused events Saturday at the prompting of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD requested, but did not require, the authority put on the event. But it fit in perfectly with the authority’s plans, Executive Director John Hill said.

The authority plans different ways to reach out to all parts of the family, he said. “We know we need to effect change and help our families move toward being self sufficient.”

To that end, the event was a chance for dads to have some fun with their kids and to get information. Community support groups were on hand to offer their services.

The event was also a way to reach out to the whole community.

“What we’re doing here today is bringing the community together, bringing Clark County together,” he said.

Tamiko Thomas said she enjoyed the event along with her husband and children, and she wishes there were more times that people could get together and have fun.

“It’s nice. I appreciate that they’re taking the time to put it all together,” she said. “They need to have this more often. It’s great for the kids.”

Tommy Albert, who lives in authority housing, gave a stirring speech calling on men to be better fathers.

“I realized being a father is the toughest job in the world,” he said. “Even though life is throwing us curve balls, we’ve got to stand up and show our children we are in charge.”

The authority hopes to do similar events in the future, Hill said. “We’re going to do an annual event, but more importantly, we’re going to be interspersing events through the year to help fathers reconnect with their families.”

Ken LoBene, the Las Vegas field director for HUD, said he hopes Saturday’s event is just the start.

“Maybe it will be the spark that will start a new day for children and their fathers,” he said. “It’s so vitally important that we connect fathers with kids.”

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