• By Tracy Molley
  • June 10, 2016

Howell Elementary gets dads involved

ELSMERE — Howell Elementary School’s All Pro Dad program is a hit. “The library was standing room only and we are moving to the gym for the next meeting,” said Elsmere resident David Brueggemeyer who has three children in elementary school. The school’s first All Pro Dad meeting was held over breakfast last month. The next breakfast will be 7 a.m. Friday, March 21, at the school. Fathers of students, as well as grandfathers and uncles, are welcome to join. According to Brueggemeyer, it was a great time for all those involved. “I decided to participate in the program because I felt that it might help me to connect to my kids in ways that I might not have thought about,” he said. “I could tell some of the other dads were connecting too. The kids were having a great time.” All Pro Dad is a national program that encourages fathers to take an active role in their children’s lives. Tracy Molley, the Family Resource Center coordinator for Howell, Arnett and Lindeman elementary schools, said the program was started at Howell, but because of the “great response” may be added to the other two elementary schools. “Over the years we’ve seen a decline in the number of dads who are involved with school,” Molley said. “We started this program to give dad an opportunity to step it up and support their kids.” She said the breakfast lasts about 45 minutes, includes a meal and time for dads and students to interact. Each dad is given cards with various topics to address to spark discussion. “It’s a positive way for both the dad and student to start the day,” she said. “It also gives them some good bonding time before school and work.” At the end of each session the dad is given a homework assignment, Molley said. This time it was to come back to school and have lunch with their student. “The students are very excited, they think it’s really neat,” she said. Molley said even students who don’t have a male role model in their lives are getting something from the program. “The parents who are here, they can reach out to those kids who may not have a male role model at home and they can be a mentor to these students too.” Brueggemeyer said that this has encouraged him to do even more. “Seeing my kids’ friends and their relationships with their male role model, or lack thereof, encourages me,” he said. “I want to do whatever I can to improve myself for my family and my kids’ friends.”