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Keith Gaston is a father, social worker and, just like his dad, a man born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut. But the city has changed in the decades since Gaston grew up there, with a climbing unemployment rate, a declining city population and issues with gun violence and drugs that are taking a toll on some of the city’s young men. That’s where Gaston has stepped in, focused on teaching those same men the skills of being a father.

On this episode of Paternal, Gaston reflects on an ambitious five-year study that gathered young fathers from right off the streets of Hartford. These were young men who perhaps became an accidental father years ago and have struggled to build a relationship with their young family, or even avoided the responsibility all together, and it became Gaston’s task to help teach them about the impact an engaged dad can have not just on his own family, but also on the community.

Raised in the 1960s and 1970s in a family with seven kids, Gaston says his father took every step to stress the importance of education, family and safety, and that allowed Gaston to become an ideal mentor for men looking for help.

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