The holidays are essentially the Dad Olympics. It’s the one time of year where yes, we are actually trying to light up the entire neighborhood (or at the very least, outdo the rival dad across the street). Collecting scraps of wrapping paper before they hit the ground is an event we’ve trained for all year, and with an industrial-grade garbage bag in hand, we stand at the ready. Holiday cheer is no laughing matter, and a well-prepared group of holi-dads are making sure a North Carolina elementary school gets its fill.
Hundreds of students spend their days at Smithfield Elementary in south Charlotte, and as the holidays approached, a group of resident dads hatched a plan. The members of the All Pro Dads group wanted to ensure that every child felt the holiday cheer, not just their own.
“We love the thought of being a positive male role model for all the kids, doesn’t matter what their home life is like,” Andrew Swistak, one of the group’s leaders, told WCNC.
Throughout the week before winter break, the group of dedicated dads gave the Smithfield Elementary students a welcome they wouldn’t soon forget. But on their last day, they brought reinforcements. With Santa hats and antlers in place, the holi-dads lined up to greet each student with enthusiasm. In the ultimate show of dedication to the cause, one dad even coated his beard in glitter, ensuring that small reminders of his act of kindness would appear sporadically for months to come.
Each student’s smiling face reminded the group how important their seemingly small deed truly was. No matter what their home life was like, the students felt both valued and cared for by the community of dads.
“The main thing is for every child to know that they have a significant adult who cares about them,” Smithfield principal Allison Plunkett said. “And so whether that comes from school or home, it doesn’t really matter. If we could just ensure that no child ever feels like they’re by themselves, we don’t allow for any of that at our school.”