Fathers and Their Children’s Education: Starting the School Year Right!
Joyce A. Thomas, Regional Administrator in ACF's Region 2, felt the excitement in the air as she entered classrooms at the Head Start program operated by the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation, Inc. in Bayonne, NJ. It was “Dads Take your Child to School!" day. Classrooms buzzed as children and their fathers set the table for breakfast, ate together and took part in several activities, including story time with fathers reading to the children.
Ms. Thomas and ACF staff spoke to fathers about the important role that they can have in their children’s education and also encouraged fathers to get health insurance coverage and to use their coverage to get health care. It was hard to tell who was enjoying themselves more -- the children, the dads, the teachers, staff or visitors!
Although the final numbers are not yet in, we know that similar scenes took place in hundreds of schools and Head Start programs throughout the States of New York and New Jersey. In addition to attending “Dads Take Your Child to School” (DTYCTS) at Bayonne Head Start, ACF Region 2 staff attended events at P.S. 31 in Staten Island, NY and the Head Start program operated by the Puerto Rican Family Institute in Brooklyn, NY.
DTYCTS is one way to encourage fathers or other men, like an uncle or grandfather, who are involved in a child’s life, to support their children’s education. Research has demonstrated that children whose fathers’ are involved with their education do better in school. Girls who have involved fathers are better at mathematics; boys who have an active, involved father have better grades and perform better on academic achievement tests; preschoolers have stronger verbal skills and also that children display less behavior problems in school. DTYCTS is now a national event that grew out of the Million Man March held in Chicago in 2004.
On September 6, 2014, ACF staff participated in Fatherhood Buzz activities hosted by Denny Moe’s Superstar Barbershop in New York, NY. Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, and Judge Greg Mathis, host of the nationally syndicated reality-based court show, greeted fathers and children getting ready for the school year. Judge Mathis, Mr. Braswell and ACF staff delivered messages about the importance of fathers being involved with their child’s education.
All in all, activities during September provided a wonderful opportunity to highlight awareness and encourage the value of fathers being actively engaged with their children’s education.
Pictured from Left to Right:
Clifford J. Adams, Chief Financial Officer of the BEOF
Ana Quintela, Executive Director, Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation (BEOF)
Joyce A. Thomas, ACF Regional Administrator, Region 2
Juan Perez, Councilman-at-Large for the City of Bayonne, N.J.,
Rosemary Simnowitz, Head Start Director, BEOF