Parents support students, enjoy doughnuts

Published 11:15 pm Friday, September 27, 2019

Parents enjoyed quality time with their children at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School Friday morning for the second annual Donuts with Dads organized by Communities in Schools of Hampton Roads.

Approximately 285 fathers and children sat in the elementary school cafeteria with complimentary doughnuts, juice and water to start the day off right for the young students. The cafeteria was filled with excited chatter — students hollered “it’s doughnut day” — as the parents enjoyed Krispy Kreme doughnut with their kids.

Many had white paper Krispy Kreme hats on, and many more had smiles on their faces.

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“We had 70 fathers that showed up last year, so we more than doubled what we had last year, which is phenomenal,” said Iris Mathis-Spellman, site coordinator for Communities in Schools of Hampton Roads.

Eric Outlaw enjoyed spending the morning with his 10-year-old son Christian Mack, a fifth-grader at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School.

“It’s priceless,” Outlaw said He appreciated the time dads had with their sons and daughters at the school, along with the opportunity to get to know the faculty better. “You get to see the faculty, as well, so everybody can know everybody’s face, and you’re familiar with the school.”

Mathis-Spellman said that they were also mindful of students that did not have fathers in their lives. In these cases, men over the age of 18 stepped up to support these boys and girls, from older brothers and grandfathers to teachers and faculty.

“It makes a world of difference when you have people who support you, because it makes you want to strive to do well,” she said.

The mission of Communities in Schools of Hampton Roads is to surround students with a community of support that will empower them to stay in school and achieve in life.

Donuts with Dads, according to Mathis-Spellman, emphasizes the role that fathers and other male figures play in providing that support for young students.

“We have great parental engagement here, but it’s even better when you can add to those numbers (and) have parents come out and support not only the school, but also support what their child is doing,” she said. “Because that encourages the student to excel in school. It encourages the student to want to do well when they know that their parent is supportive of them.”

The event itself is a team effort that’s made possible each year by its own support network. The Krispy Kreme location on Victory Boulevard in Portsmouth matched the 18 boxes that Mathis-Spellman’s team purchased for a total of 36 boxes, or 432 doughnuts, she said.

The cost was defrayed by the Nansemond-Isle of Wight Baptist Sunday School Union’s $200 donation, and Mathis-Spellman thanked its president, Wendy Bullock, for its support. The Food Lion location on Godwin Boulevard in Suffolk also donated gift cards.

Mathis-Spellman was especially grateful for the teachers and other volunteers at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School who helped set up this tasty Friday morning bonding time.

“We’re excited that this year we more than doubled our parent and community participation,” said Kristal Taylor, assistant principal at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School. “We’re grateful for the partnership and the support as we continue to support the whole child.”