If you think the last two and a half years have been difficult, different, and weird in your profession, just imagine what it's been like to be in education! Not only are schools and teachers caught in the middle of a cultural firestorm, but they're also dealing with the ins and outs of completely retooling how to be a teacher or administrator during a pandemic.
Friends, schools, and the staff that make schools/education work are under an inordinate amount of external pressures. How about we think of more ways to help them out?
The best way I’ve found to make a difference in the schools I care so much about is to get the dads of the students more involved in the lives of their children. Good Dads Strong Schools is a before-school breakfast program focused on helping fathers and their kids become more connected in a way that is both fun and supportive of education. Each month, team captains lead a group of kids and dads through a character-related theme – like making good choices, staying connected, and exercising gratitude.
I've been a Captain at McGregor Elementary with the Good Dads Strong Schools program for several years, and I can tell you firsthand the importance of community partners in the success of schools. Not only does this program provide an opportunity for parents and students to connect over breakfast, it also shows the staff that the community supports them. And the costs to show that support are so minimal.
The Downtown Church in Springfield, Missouri, provides some bagels and coffee for teachers, a short program on a positive personality trait, but most importantly, a time for dads and kids to connect. Maybe your church or business could find a school to support close to you. A personal connection, either with a student or staff member, is great but not necessary. The most important factor is a heart to help build up our community. The financial burden is a small one, but the smiles and laughter are enormous.
When we provide a place for dads to be engaged and invested in the education process, the positive outcomes for kids are greatly increased. And sometimes all it takes is a few community members to rise up and meet the challenge. You CAN be that person. You CAN make a difference.