How can fathers support their children’s learning? How can they be involved? What issues and topics matter to them? What activities would they like to do with their children?
A group of dads of students from Hayes and Stevenson elementary schools gathered Oct. 27 at the Fridley Community Center for the first meeting of the district’s Fatherhood Partnership.
The initiative was developed to provide an avenue for fathers to get together, learn from one another, access resources for themselves and their children, and learn how they can continue to support and contribute to their children’s educational success.
The partnership was organized by Heshima Selassie, Family Outreach Liaison at Stevenson Elementary School. Selassie, who has had numerous conversations with the fathers of the students he serves, said that this was an opportunity that a lot of the dads have been looking for.
In his opening speech, guest speaker John Warren, Family Engagement Specialist from the Northwest Suburban Integration School District, applauded the fathers who attended the event.
“There are many things you could be doing right now,” he said, “but you are here. You chose to attend this event because you care for your children and want to give them your very best.”
A father himself, Warren talked to dads about creating a balance between work and other responsibilities to allow them to continue to have quality time with their children. Several dads attended the event with their children and were able to sit with them during some of the evenings activities.
“You are your childrens’ hero,” said Warren. “Being a dad is tough, and as tough as parenting is, your children are depending on you to help them succeed in school and life. You can be that hero for them,” he said.
“This was a great beginning,” said Selassie. A short survey taken by the dads at the end of the session indicated that they wanted and were looking forward to another dad event and opportunities for involvement with their children.
“We are looking at the feedback,” said Selassie, “and we will use the information that the dads provided to plan the next event soon.”