Men in Dallas are capturing the hearts of people around the country after attending an event at a local middle school and proving how crucial it is for young boys to have strong male figures in their lives.
Last month, a “Breakfast with Dads” event was planned at Billy Earl Dade Middle School in Dallas. The middle school roughly has a population of about 900 students. About 90 percent of students come from low-income households, according to the Dallas Morning News.
About 150 male students, ages 11 to 13, signed up for the event, yet organizers for the breakfast feared not every student would have an older male or father figure present. This inspired the event organizers to put out a community call for volunteers.
Kristina Chäadé Dove — who has served on what is called a site-based decision-making team for the middle school — published an ad on social media calling for 50 volunteers.
On the actual day of the event, the organizers and students were overwhelmed to see nearly 600 men had showed up to help and mentor the boys.
“When a young person sees someone other than their teacher take interest in them, it inspires them. That’s what we want to see happen,” the Rev. Donald Parish Jr., pastor of True Lee Missionary Baptist Church and the event organizer, told the Dallas Morning News.
Stephanie Drenka, a Dallas photographer and blogger who works with Dove at Big Thought, shared photos from the event on her blog.
“Back in December, the team ran into some difficulty when planning their annual “Breakfast with Dads” event. Dade’s community liaison Ellyn Favors mentioned that student participation was low due to young men not having a father/father-figure available to attend the event. Kristina decided to post a call for volunteers on Facebook in the hope of finding 50 male mentors to accompany the middle schoolers…
“The unexpected influx of interest led the team to move the event from the cafeteria into the gymnasium so they could house more guests. Kristina engaged the community again in getting volunteers to help with setup and check-in. Team members from Big Thought, the Office of Cultural Affairs, and even Kristina’s personal friends showed up alongside the male mentors to make the event possible…
“I will never forget witnessing the young students surrounded by supportive community members. There were so many volunteers, that at times I saw young men huddled in the center of 4-5 mentors. The look of awe- even disbelief- in students’ eyes as they made their way through the crowd of “Dads” was astonishing.
“Jamil “The Tie Man” Tucker led the auditorium in a hands-on icebreaker activity. He spoke of learning how to tie a tie as a rite of passage some young men never experience. Mentors handed out ties to the eager students and helped them perfect their half-Windsor knot.
The sight of a necktie may forever bring a tear to my eye,” she wrote.
(Photo: Stephanie Drenka)