In a heartwarming gathering that took place on September 21st, National Father Take Your Child to School Day, at Public School 59, over thirty devoted fathers congregated shortly after escorting their children to their early morning classes. Joining this assembly were the children themselves, prominent community leaders, and members of the Bronx Administration for Children Services (ACS).
This event, which has matured over nearly a decade, is the brainchild of Roberto Ramirez, the school’s dedicated parent coordinator, along with a select group of founding fathers. Their unwavering mission has been to engage more fathers in their children’s lives, despite the numerous challenges that often deter them, such as work and other paternal responsibilities that can interfere with the morning school routine.
While this event was a pre-pandemic tradition, it temporarily paused for obvious reasons. Yet, these fathers remained steadfast in their commitment, and the evident increase in the number of actively engaged fathers in their children’s lives serves as a testament to their dedication. “When we first initiated this program, we were fortunate to have five fathers join us. Now, the numbers have surpassed our wildest expectations,” noted Michael Simpson, a fellow coordinator and program stalwart supporter from its inception. In his passionate address, Ramirez proclaimed, “This serves as a clear testament that we, as fathers, are deeply invested in our children’s lives. The outdated notion that we are not involved is steadily changing, and the tide is shifting in our favor.”
Ramirez, a 2016 Father of the Year awardee, as bestowed by the Bronx Fatherhood Coalition, welcomed a special guest speaker, none other than Coach Stevan Lynn, who had journeyed via live video from the Dominican Republic, where he now imparts his knowledge internationally regarding his fatherhood expertise. Coach Lynn shared an abridged overview of his five principles for building strong bonds with one’s children and maintaining a pivotal role in their upbringing: faith, sacrifice, patience, commitment, and unconditional love.
Following Coach Lynn’s insightful discourse, representatives from the Bronx ACS took the stage to discuss their ongoing efforts to redefine their image from adversaries in the family dynamic. They introduced various services and programs, notably the new CARES Initiative, emphasizing non-punitive outcomes when circumstances permit. Their predominant objective is to demonstrate their impartiality within the family structure, with an unwavering commitment to safeguarding and serving our most treasured assets: children and the family unit.
Concluding the event, Ramirez, joined by ACS members, presented certificates to fathers and their children in recognition of their participation in this uplifting gathering. As the event drew to a close, attendees united for a group photograph, exchanged contact information, and eagerly looked ahead to continuing their collaborative efforts in nurturing progress and strengthening familial bonds.
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