Local public, private and charter schools are hoping to see a horde of fathers walking through their doors tomorrow for the annual Fathers Walk.
The walk, set for Sept. 22, is a northeast Ohio-wide day of engagement where fathers, uncles, grandfathers, stepfathers, foster fathers, brothers, and mentors are encouraged to take their child to school to show support of the educational lives of their children.
Across the region, dozens of schools are planning to take part.
At Dike School of the Arts in Cleveland, fathers and father figures will walk in a processional to nearby Mount Sinai Baptist Church, where they will hear a motivational speech and have refreshments.
At Emerson Elementary School in Lakewood, a “Donuts With Dad” celebration is planned. Principal Brian Siftar says he has been working hard to encourage fathers to attend and has also recruited male volunteers to attend. His aim is to provide a father figure for all students whose fathers are unable to come, says Siftar. “I feel strongly about this personally and professionally.”
Fathers Walk organizers say the annual event is designed to get fathers engaged in the goings-on at their child’s school.
“There is a growing body of research that suggests children are more successful if both of their parents are involved in their lives” says Steve Killpack, executive director of Healthy Fathering Collaborative. “The father-child connection is particularly critical for the child’s cognitive development.”
According to Killpack, reading to your child just 20 minutes a day puts your child on track for literacy and educational success.
During the day of engagement, fathers will be encouraged to take the following pledge as a year-round commitment to their child’s success:
- I am responsible for the education of my child.
- I will encourage all children to do their best every day at school.
- I will speak to my child about the value of learning and the importance of reaching your potential.
- I will help with school work and review assignments for completion.
- I will praise my child when he/she does well in school.
- I will speak with my child’s teachers and support them in educating my child.
- I will teach my child the value of education and the value of family.
- I will work with my child’s mother or guardian to achieve the best academic and social outcomes for my child even if I do not live with my child.
The Father’s Walk began in 2004 and has received substantial support and exposure over the past several years. This year, participating sponsors include: Cuyahoga County Fatherhood Initiative, Fame Fathers of Summit County, Passages, the Healthy Fathering Collaborative and Global Parenting Network.