BY AMANDA MOSES
On Wednesday, June 12th, the Starrett Early Learning Center (SELC) hosted a Father’s Day extravaganza, featuring family-oriented, creative building activities and an interactive breakfast with SELC Director, Tammy Moore.
Sometimes we underestimate the power of a father-figure. There is a stereotypical expectation that dads take a seat back while mom does all the work, but that isn’t always true. Many parents work as a team to help provide their children with the tools necessary to build a future for themselves. Of course, having parental involvement in a child’s life truly makes a difference as to their performance and mental well-being. However, about one in four children live at home without a father, and statistically they are more likely to face behavioral issues, delinquency, and even dropout of school, according to the US Census Bureau. In light of these figures, it’s important to stress that fathers really do play a crucial role.
In honor of all fathers, Moore wanted to host an event that shows the student’s appreciation for dad. The day began like any other, some dads dropped off their kids at school, but instead of leaving, they participated in a life-size puzzle building activity. The fathers partnered with their children and even took on others, whose parents could not attend the event. Together they used their imagination to build fortresses and small buildings. After everyone played together, Moore asked the men to join her for light refreshments and a brief discussion about their role. She said that fathers need to show their children sensitivity, strength, and continuous encouragement. “Let your children learn, let them figure things out,” she said.
“So often dads are given the short end of the stick, and not usually shown appreciation,” Moore said as she handed the fathers blank sheets of paper. “Dads don’t always thank themselves for what they do. So I want you to write a Father’s Day message to yourselves,” she said.
Some fathers announced that they wanted to be a better dad, and to help guide their children to becoming the best possible versions of themselves. “I want to give my children roots, so that they can grow wings, and then they can be set free into the world,” Fredel Hilaire said.
The group of men in attendance appeared to be developing a comradery, creating a network of friendships that will allow them to talk about their problems or activities to participate in with their families.
Rodney Caldwell has two children and everyday he is thankful for them and the lessons his own father taught him. “I am most proud that my kids look to me for guidance. They know that they can always ask me for help, and I will be there for them,” he said.
Surrounded by handcrafted construction paper ties and balloons that say, “Dad is the best,” added a special ambiance for everyone at the event.
Photos by Amanda Moses and Kimaura Buntin