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Group calls on Dads

Y2K Academy Mentor and Youth Director Dominik West mentors Tyrek Greene of Cogic Square. The Y2K Academy is encouraging fathers to get involved in their children's educations.

It has become a societal norm, but an absentee father isn’t something from which a child will ever recover.

It takes a toll on every aspect of a child’s life — relationally, academically and spiritually.

The Y2K Academy was created to help temper and prevent many of those effects, and is holding “Fathers as First Teachers on the First Day of School” to target getting fathers involved in their children’s education.

“Children respond to their father’s genuine care and concern about their goals and life expectations with a different commitment level than they do their mothers,” Academy founder Princella Johnson said. “Mothers provide emotional support and nurturing, but they’re greatly impacted by fathers to validate and set their dreams and goals. That’s why it’s imperative we have fathers on the front lines.”

The Academy will host the free event on Sept. 6.

A rally will begin at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church at 10 a.m., followed at noon by a picnic at Lake Meade Park, behind Farm Fresh.

The rally will include a wide array of educational and motivational speakers, including Lakeland High School football coach Glenwood Ferebee to talk about how, with the shooting of one of his students, crime has impacted his team this year. Michelle Bell, who is superintendent for Franklin Public Schools, will also speak, and Seneca Bock of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy will discuss prevention of childhood obesity.

The afternoon in the park will include food, back-to-school supplies and backpacks, a responsible-fatherhood resource kiosk, father and child relay races and karaoke, bounce houses, a Triple-T Sports gymnastic show, a mini golf course and an eighth-mile exercise track for walkers.

While there will be an abundance of fun, “it’s not as much about what happens on Labor Day, but to get the fathers on the forefront to turn education around,” Johnson said.

At the event, dads will be given a helpful handout with a 10-point action plan for the school year.

“It’s to help dads take an active role in homework, signing report cards and committing to take their child to the first day of school,” Johnson said. “The result will hopefully be to help reduce the dropout rate in Suffolk. A father’s involvement is key to improving academic involvement. We want to see our children get wonderful grades, go to school and feel affirmed by their fathers.”

All activities are free, but registration is strongly encouraged.

To register, click here.

For more information call 925-4545, ext. 1003.