Fol­som El­e­men­tary Starts Dad’s Pro­gram

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARM­ING­TON — Fol­som El­e­men­tary in Farm­ing­ton is the first school in North­west Arkansas to start a pro­gram called All Pro Dad’s Day that en­cour­ages dads and fa­ther fig­ures to spend time with their chil­dren at school on a monthly ba­sis.

Alex Floyd and Nick Souther­land are serv­ing as co-chair­men for Fol­som’s pro­gram and they hope to see at­ten­dance grow each month. An­other goal is to see it spread to other schools in Farm­ing­ton and through­out the re­gion.

Floyd works in Spring­dale and saw the pro­gram as an op­por­tu­nity to get plugged into the com­mu­nity and plugged into the school.

Floyd said All Pro Dad’s Day was started by Tony Dungy, a for­mer player and coach in the Na­tional Foot­ball League.

Dungy, on the All Pro Dad’s Day web­site, states the day is “a sim­ple way for you to be­come an un­com­mon fa­ther and in­flu­ence your chil­dren in sig­nif­i­cant ways.”

The web­site shows what can hap­pen if a dad is not ac­tively in­volve in his child’s life. The child is two times more likely to fail or drop out of school, 54 per­cent poorer than the par­ents, seven times more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence teen preg­nancy and is at higher risk for in­car­cer­a­tion.

Karla Long, Fol­som coun­selor, heard about All Pro Dad’s Day at the Na­tional Coun­selors Con­fer­ence in Colorado last sum­mer and de­cided she wanted to bring it to her school.

“I just be­lieve the par­ent com­mu­ni­ca­tion is a key com­po­nent to a stu­dent’s suc­cess,” Long said. “If we can get dads to­gether and work­ing with the school, it is a win-win sit­u­a­tion.”

Kids and their dads or other fa­ther fig­ures will meet for break­fast monthly in the P.E. gym at Fol­som. The next one will be 7-8 a.m. Fri­day, March 9. Un­cles, cousins, grand­fa­thers, oth­ers in­volved with a child can at­tend the break­fast in place of an ab­sent dad. Women also can at­tend, though the pro­gram is geared more to­ward fa­thers.

Each break­fast has a theme with an ac­com­pa­ny­ing video but opens with the same ac­tiv­ity, Floyd said. Dads are en­cour­aged to tell their child or chil­dren why they are proud of them.

The theme for the Fe­bru­ary break­fast was “in­flu­ence” and a video from a Dis­ney movie showed how the fish Nemo was per­sis­tent and able to in­flu­ence oth­ers.

Floyd talked to the chil­dren about how they can in­flu­ence other kids around them and talked to dads about how they in­flu­ence their chil­dren.

Dane Pea­cock at­tended the Fe­bru­ary All Pro Dad’s Day with his son Miles Pea­cock, 7. The fam­ily is new to Farm­ing­ton and Pea­cock said he saw it as a way to grow closer with his son and to meet oth­ers.

“It’s a great idea to help fa­thers and sons con­nect,” Pea­cock said.

Miles said he likes to play golf and wres­tle with his dad.

Bob Archer also at­tended with his son, Har­lin Archer, 7. Archer said he saw a flyer about the pro­gram and liked the idea.

“It seems like it will help fa­thers and kids and I’d like to get to know the other fa­thers,” Archer said.

Har­lin said eat­ing break­fast with his dad has been fun. He likes to play the videogame Mario Brothers with his dad.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Dane Pea­cock and his son, Miles, 7, visit with each other dur­ing the All Pro Dad’s Day at Fol­som El­e­men­tary School in Farm­ing­ton. The next one will be Fri­day morn­ing.

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