Event to encourage dads

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2016

An event this Saturday will encourage fathers to be examples for their children this school year.

The seventh annual Fathers as First Teachers on the First Day of School event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 4165 Pruden Blvd. The event is free and features activities, a school supply giveaway for families registered in advance, a concert and keynote speakers.

“We’re asking (fathers) to take their kids to school on the first day,” said Dr. Princella Johnson of Y2K Academy, the organization hosting the event. “I would encourage them to come out for community strengthening and undergirding our children.”

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The event will feature keynote addresses by Dr. Deran Whitney, superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools, speaking on the role of fathers in children’s educations, as well as Maj. Steve Patterson of the Suffolk Police Department, speaking about police procedures and policies.

The Suffolk Department of Fire & Rescue will provide a fire truck for kids to climb, and Verizon will have its No. 46 stock car at the event, Johnson said.

There will also be a bounce house, puppet shows, games, health screenings, father/son building projects, “girl talk” and more.

“These are the future workers of our city,” Johnson said. “This is our future workforce, and their education is so vital. If we don’t undergird them and provide the tools for them to excel at education, our city will suffer.”

Johnson said the event is an economic development initiative.

“It doesn’t look like it,” she said. “But we are building Suffolk’s future workforce. In order to keep Suffolk strong, we have to keep producing children who are strong and are prepared educationally.”

“We want them to have great jobs and business opportunities,” she added. “We as a community have to pitch in early, and we’ll get the return on investment later.”

Johnson said the event also shows Christ-like love to the community.

“When we do it unto the least of our brethren, we’ve done it unto Him,” she said, paraphrasing Matthew 25:40.

School supplies will be provided only to registered families, and the maximum has already been reached, Johnson said. However, all of the remaining activities of the event are open to the public.

An evening concert will take place beginning at 6:30 p.m. and featuring a number of praise dancers and gospel acts. The concert is $5 for children, $5 for dads with their children and $10 for everyone else.

“We’re just looking forward to the community coming together,” Johnson said.

For more information, call 925-4545 or email y2k.academy@verizon.net. To register, visit faft2016.eventbrite.com, or to register for the concert, visit rapyouth.eventbrite.com.