NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Across the state, a lot of kids got a special trip to school Tuesday, not because of how they got there, but because of who made the trip with them.
This is Dads Take Your Child to School Day, and districts like the one in Niagara Falls, opened their doors to invite in men who have significant relationships with the children in their classrooms.
“Children who have men involved in their lives in a significant way have better outcomes academically, socially, emotionally, just across the board,” explained Judie Glaser, the Community Relations Director for the Niagara Falls City School District.
Across the district, the schools were doing what they could to get more men involved on Wednesday, by offering them a goodies and treats, and a chance to see the classrooms and meet the teachers and school leaders. More importantly, it was a good chance for them to see why their involvement is so important. “Statistics show that kids who have dads in their schools tend to volunteer more in their community and participate in things,” said Owen Steed, the Niagara County legislator who represents District 4.
That said, there are a lot of kids who aren’t able to share a morning like this with their fathers, for a wide variety of reasons. That’s why the schools welcomed not only dads, but stepdads, foster dads, granddads, neighbors, family friends — any man with a significant relationship with a student. That’s not to mention the other community members, like local leaders, police and firefighters, who were also on hands at the schools to show the students their support.
“With everything that’s going on in the world, it’s important that they see that they have male role models out there that care,” Steed said.
For men like Roy Lussier, who was dropping off his two stepsons at Abate Elementary on Wednesday, this was a chance to lead by example, something he tries to do at every opportunity. Lussier says he already sees the result of those actions in his stepsons’ behavior, explaining that his older stepson is “a better big brother to his little brother because he sees me doing things for him.”
“I was raised with an absent father so I kind of get what they would go through if I didn’t make time for them,” Lussier added.
The men who showed up for school Wednesday were asked to spend an hour or so taking part in the activities, but school leaders say their time spent in school can make a world of difference for the students. “It’s important to a child to know that they’re significant, that their family is significant to the school,” said Abate principal Cynthia Jones.
Organizers say it’s also important for more men to be involved year round. They asked those who attended Wednesday to share their contact information, so school leaders could reach out moving forward about other upcoming events.