The local chapter of a national fraternity is calling upon men in the community to join an effort to raise awareness about the importance of a father's role in a child's life.In line with the National Fatherhood Initiative promoted by President Barack Obama, the Sigma Pi chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity is hosting an event to launch the effort locally on Saturday.The 200 Men in White program will be held Saturday at 5 p.m. at Old Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in North Augusta, and all men in the Aiken, Edgefield and Barnwell county area are invited to attend."We are focusing on the fathers. We want them to be aware that there is a great need of their presence with their children, whether they are in the home or out of the home," chapter President Nathaniel Dicks said. "We want to make them aware of areas that we believe need to be attended to and learn from them what the areas that they have needs are that we might be able to provide direction so that they can improve as fathers."Dicks said that the program will involve mentoring, but the purpose of Saturday's event is to learn what the needs in the community are, and what direction the program needs to take to be effective.Fraternity members hope that the event will draw 200 men who want to be part of the effort, and added that women are also invited to attend. The program, which Dicks said does not have a religious emphasis, will promote the idea that men are equally as important in the home as women.Men who are not biological fathers but who want to participate are also invited."We believe that the community is still a village, and it takes a village to raise children. We want them to understand that people watch you, kids watch you and they learn from you," Dicks said.Men are asked to wear a white piece of clothing, whether it be a white tie, white pants or white T-shirt, to symbolize purity, however, the white attire is not required.Old Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church is located at 200 Macedonia Road in North Augusta.There is no need to RSVP for the event. For more information, contact Nathaniel Dicks at 642-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Anna Dolianitis is a reporter for the Aiken Standard. She covers the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site, as well as court and legal matters affecting Aiken County. She has been with the Aiken Standard since August 2010.
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