FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A father and a folder are two tools one local group said are essential for a successful school year. Saturday was the second annual Glynn Hines Back to School Fatherhood Initiative at McMillen Park Community Center. The initiative focuses on getting fathers more involved in their children’s lives.
“With an event like this, we get young people and give them options in their critical thinking process before they make bad decisions, before they get involved in bad activities,” Councilman Glynn Hines, (D)-6th District, said.
More than 200 people showed up to enjoy free food, a speaker, and sessions focused on mental health, education, and the fairly new expungement law. Parents could pick up free book bags and school supplies for their children, and fathers were also encouraged to take a pledge promising to be more committed to their children’s education this upcoming school year and years after.
“As we talk about moving the black male achievement further, we have to recognize the role of the father in the family, and in some structures, men don’t know how to be fathers, so they need support as well,” said Andre Patterson, the Indiana State Commissioner for the Social Status for African American Males.
Patterson said this event is just the first step in combating this problem. The organization will also be holding monthly mentor groups for fathers.
Also, last week, Fort Wayne mayor, Tom Henry, along with nearly a dozen other mayors, all pledged to make changes directly impacting black males in their community.