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breakfast with dads

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It’s no secret that dads often get a bad rap. If they aren’t being accused of being completely out of the picture, they’re being scolded in a think piece about taking time to take more pictures of their co-parent killing it at motherhood. In fact, it was just the other day I desperately failed at picking my husband’s hurt feelings off the floor as I read him an article that pretty much said that toddlers misbehave more around mom because they’re looked at more as a safe space. “Oh, so you’re saying I’m a bad parent?” he asked appearing to joke but with a slight hint of offense in his tone.

Well if you didn’t know, there are a lot of dads out here who are doing a damn good job at fatherhood and also men in so many communities that even if they aren’t parents themselves, are serving as excellent examples to the villages they walk through each and every day. In fact, 600 of them recently showed up to a Dallas middle school for a “Breakfast With Dads” event.

Organizer, Kristina Chaade put out a call to action requesting male mentors in the community to join 150 students who signed up for Billy Earle Dade Middle School’s “Breakfast With Dads” event. Delish reports the purpose of the event was for boys to join male role models in the community for muffins, fruit and OJ and spend the morning asking them “whatever’s on their mind — from how to put on a tie to how to plan for college”. Many of the young men that signed up either didn’t have a father present in their lives or had fathers that were unable to attend.

Chaade organized the event with Rev. Donald Parish Jr. and after seeing the amount of students who signed up, the pair got to work putting the word out on social media for volunteers. They already had a few volunteers but once they put the call-to-action on social media, the response was overwhelming. Parish told a local news outlet that they even experienced some technical glitches:

“The [event’s] site crashed because we had so many men signing up to participate.”

On a December morning shortly before Christmas break, almost 600 men showed up ready to bond with the students over breakfast. The mentors all shared stories about their various careers from serving in the National Guard to a day in the life of an auctioneer. One mentor even bought extra neck ties so that the students could gain the necessary skill of tying a neck tie. Assistant Chief of Police for the Dallas ISD Police Department, Jason Rodriguez attended and tweeted about the impact the event made on mentors as well as the mentees:

The school which was previously one of the worst-performing schools in the district had a massive turnaround after the superintendent visited in 2014 and fired several staff on the spot after finding it in disarray. Many say community support is a major part of the school’s success and more mentorship events are being planned for the future. Band teacher, Greg Mea told Dallas News, that support is merely a reflection of the students:

“They are great kids. You can’t let a ZIP code or part of the city define them.”

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