*When Billy Earl Dade Middle School in Dallas put out a request seeking 50 male volunteers for its “Breakfast with Dads” event, they didn’t expect the overwhelming response from the men in the community.
Some 600 men showed up to support students with absent fathers at the Texas middle school, which reportedly “has a population of nearly 900 students and about 90 percent of those pupils come from low-income families.”
The Daily Mail reports that about 150 male students, ages 11 to 13, signed up for the event, but Kristina Dove, the senior partner relations manager at Big Thought, a youth development nonprofit, wasn’t sure if every student would have a father present. So she immediately hopped on social media to express her need for volunteers for the event, which was held on December 14, 2017.
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“Please Share! Men Needed! On next Thursday, December 14th at 8:30 AM at Dr. Billy Earle Dade Middle School we will host ‘Breakfast with Dads’ the reality of a great event like this is alot of our kids will not have a Dad present,” Dove wrote on Facebook on December 4.
“But there is nothing like having a male present in the form of a mentor. We are [in] need of at least 50 or more additional male mentors who can devote 1 hour of their Wednesday morning next week to this cause,” she added.
Event organizers were overcome with emotion when hundreds of men responded and showed up to support the students.
“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.
Along with serving breakfast, the event featured a variety of icebreaker activities, ABC News reports.
Jason Rodriguez, the assistant chief of police for the Dallas Independent School District Police Department, tweeted: “Words cannot describe the impact mentoring youth can have on both you and your mentee. Powerful to see a community of fellow men and fathers come together to wrap their arms around or young men. Thank you for having me out.”
Dove hopes the male volunteers will continue to work as mentors through Big Thought.
“Our next step is to bring the guys together again and have them participate in various opportunities for mentorship,” she said.
A school only needed 50 volunteers to to be stand-in “fathers”, mentors. So, more than 600 men showed up. ❤️pic.twitter.com/s5o7XfmavT
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) January 9, 2018