Devin Holdraker or something you find in dirty diaper. We aren't sure.

Devin Holdraker

Teen With Autism Surprised With Visit From Polar Express Conductor

Teen with autism receives special visit
(Facebook/ Angie Swartout)

Autism can make things very difficult for those on the spectrum, as well as their family and friends. Public events and activities can present unique challenges that often require unique solutions. Thankfully, there are good people all around us who go the extra mile to ensure all people have the opportunity to enjoy life to their fullest. 

So when 18-year-old Ty Swartout was recently unable to attend a special event, staffers and volunteers came together in an incredible way to make his dream become a reality.

A huge fan of “The Polar Express”, Ty makes a point to watch the movie monthly and has read the book literally hundreds of times over. So when Ty’s grandparents found out that the Polar Express rolls down the tracks just four hours away from his home, the couple planned a visit for the family.

While the trip to get to The Grand Canyon Hotel’s Polar Express went as planned, upon arrival, Ty was simply too overwhelmed to actually board the infamous train he has loved for so many years. After overcoming two prior meltdowns, Ty and his family were unable to enjoy the ride. But that didn’t stop the train staff from refusing to leave without him. After his parents insisted they continue on, the train departed. “The staff of the Grand Canyon Railway tried so hard to help,” Ty’s mother Angie wrote in a Facebook post.

“They even held the train. Finally, I had to say let’s go back to the room. Angie admitting the initial disappointment was devastating. “I cried all the way back. My heart was shattered,” she says. “I wanted this so badly for my son.”

However, upon arriving back at the hotel, the family had a knock on their door. It was a hotel staffer popping by to check in on Ty. The hotel assisted the family in rebooking their visit with free special needs accommodations. But that was only the beginning, as moments later, another visitor came knocking. While angie and Ty were curled up reading the book, the real-life conductor from the train entered in full attire. “He sat next to Ty’s bed and chatted with him. Ty was star struck. He was so excited and happy. Then the conductor gave Ty his pocket watch! They said that they wanted everyone to experience something special and magical.”

“They succeeded,” she continued. “We may not have gotten to ride a train but we got something even more magical… We got the gift of human kindness!”

With the holidays just around the corner, this serves as a simple reminder of how a small gesture can truly have a massive impact on not only those involved directly but to anyone who encounters the act as well. 

The Dad Releases New “Dad-Isms” App for iPhone and Android

Ever wake up in the morning just wishing The Dad had an app? Well, rise and shine, fellow fathers, because that dream has finally come true.

The Dad App is available now in the App Store and on Google Play. It’s The Dad’s first foray into mobile apps, but is sure to be only the beginning according to Chief Dad, Executive Editor Joel Willis.

“This is our very first app for The Dad. I love it because it’s so simple: a dad-ism every day. We joke on our team that it’s so simple even your dad can use it. (We fully realize that dads are often extremely tech-savvy, calm down.) The point is just that our brand community will like it, as us modern dads catch ourselves saying these classics our own dads used to say.”

Think of it as a digital tome of universally understood dad-isms, similar to the sweet, sweet giftable calendar available now in The Dad Shop.

Comments on the app from fellow fathers have already been coming in this week.

“When I became to dad it’s like I unlocked all these sayings, idk why or how I started using them but they just came out of my mouth somehow” _javcal_

“It’s tradition. I must now carry it on as my father did, and his father, and his father’s father did.” _granachos

Willis says of comments such as these, “That’s what it’s all about.“

In addition, even non-dads are getting in on the laughs.

“I’m only 17 but I think I should be an honorary dad because some of these are too accurate” sguy1402

“Not a dad but looking forward to it”  naol_gina

For some, it’s even a light-hearted way to remember their own fathers who are no longer around.

“My dad just died, your posts help me remember. Thank you.” bucklewl15

While it’s a simple app, there are already plans in the works to release even more original content over the next few months. “We have some really cool ideas for other things we can do in the mobile app space,” Willis shared, adding there is certainly “More to come.”

We encourage everyone, dads, moms, and fans of general humor at large, to share their favorite dad-isms far and wide and encourage others to install and review the app.

And don’t forget: There are a bunch of awesome dad-related gifts available right now:

Check out the shop on TheDad.com and on Amazon too.

Happy Dadding!

Born Blind, This Dad Just Completed the NYC Marathon to Inspire His Son

Blind dad completes NYC marathon
(Facebook/Dave Williams)

Dave Williams doesn’t let the fact that he’s blind deter him from doing anything, but until his early 30s, the UK based dad admits he was pretty out of shape. “I was really unfit. I didn’t really do anything physical, but then when I got into my thirties — just out of boredom — I thought I might try a bit of cycling,” Williams, recently shared with TODAY Parents.

But after a few years, Williams was having trouble finding someone to ride with him on the special tandem bike he had been training on. He sought out a new guide, with the original goal of finding a running partner and converting them into a rider. “To cut a long story short, basically I failed and they converted me into a runner,” said Williams.

Although Williams says he has lost over 40 pounds since he began running, he tells TODAY that the real drive comes from knowing his son Arlo is proud of him, and that they now have an acuity they can share. “Just from the moment he could move, he never sat still … he runs amazingly well, and I just thought I’d love to be able to do that with him, but physically I couldn’t.”

Just a year after making the leap to marathoner, Williams says he now gives his son a run for his money. “He used to be able to run a mile or two and I couldn’t run 100 yards. Now I can run beyond his farthest distance.”

Eventually, his path led him to 30-year-old educator Bex Jones. Williams and Jones entered several local races and after having initial success, Williams found himself in a place he never thought he’d be. “I found myself online, on the form for the New York City Marathon ballot — there may have been alcohol involved — and I thought, ‘Well, I’m a runner now. Runners do marathons, that’s what they do eventually once they get good enough,” he recalls.

But to his own surprise, just a month later, Williams received confirmation that he’d secured his place on the starting line. He immediately called Jones to share the news. “I said, ‘You are not going to believe this, but apparently I’ve got a place in the New York City Marathon. She came straight back and said, ‘Well, I’ll do it.”

Training three days a week, competing in half marathons and distance races, Williams was as ready as he’d be.

On November 3rd, Williams took to the streets of NYC, joining over 50,000 other runners in one of the most challenging road races in the world. Dave and Bex finished the race in 4:12:20.

While finishing is an achievement in itself, Williams’ ultimate hope is that his son learns an important lesson from the experience. “That…if you really work hard at something and you put in the time and effort and you’re resilient, than the world’s your oyster — you can do whatever you put your mind to.”

Watch Scooby and Shaggy Meet In the New Trailer for Scoob!

Scoob! Trailer
(YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures)

You knew it was coming. I mean sure, it was announced way back in 2014, but even without that confirmation, reboots are now the name of the game.

So it’s no surprise that Scooby and the gang would be popping up eventually. But now the official trailer has dropped for Warner Brother’s newest revisiting. Scoob! is the latest franchise to get a fresh new cast with a list of stars that would have any studio accountant shaking in their boots.

Notable names like Will Forte (Shaggy), Zac Efron (Fred), Amanda Seyfried (Daphne) and Gina Rodriguez (Velma/The brains of the entire operation) lend their voices to the new animated feature. Joining them is longtime Scooby, Frank Welker, who has voiced the character since 2002 and was the original voice of Fred back in the original series.

Hollywood heavyweights like Mark Wahlburg, Tracy Morgan and Ken Jeong also join the all-star cast, directed by Tony Cervone of Space Jam fame.

The trailer, which debuted earlier today, highlights the origin story of the entire gang and how they came to be Mystery, Inc. It then flashes forward to the present, where the gang now “face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world.”

If you’re a fan of 3D animation and familiar celebrity voices all wrapped up into the Scooby-Universe, or say you just love the franchise and have kids that need to be entertained, this movie is sure to be right up your alley.

Scoob! is set to be released on May 15, 2020.

Dad’s Shower Door Photo Goes Viral for All the Right Reasons

Dad's Viral Shower Door Photo
(His View From Home)

The old adage of a picture being worth a thousand words has never been portrayed so simply as in this photo of a fogged-up shower door.

It’s nothing too unique. Just steam on a panel of glass and an area that has clearly been wiped away. But the story behind the photograph has recently made the rounds on social media, making people take a deeper look at it and their own situations as well.

Father Zack Williams, aka The Tattooed Sales Guy on Facebook, recently posted the picture along with his “aha moment” that has resonated with so many parents around the world.

Zack works hard. Like many households in America, Zack and his wife Heather, along with their baby girl Lottie, live on a single income. It means Zack often spends 10-12 hours a day earning a living to provide for his growing brood. So when he comes home at night, his wife should obviously cater to his every whim. After all, she’s just a stay-at-home mom. It’s not as if she has had the same exhausting day as he has just endured.

Ok, ok. We know that’s not the case, and so does Zack, so save your comments until the end. But as a sole financial provider, it’s easy to become blind to all that your partner does to keep your family functioning on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are reminders everywhere if you’re smart enough to notice them.

Back to that shower door, and the post that has since been shared tens of thousands of times. A simple reminder and a message of gratitude. The Facebook Page “His View From Home” sharing the complete text.

The fogged up glass was a reminder that his wife, despite being home all day, was never really alone. Even something as simple as taking a shower required her to clear the glass so she could entertain their young infant while just trying to get clean from the previous day’s activities. A moment most of us can often take for granted, displayed clearly… on fogged up glass. It was something Zack recognized immediately and it moved him to share it with the world.

“My wife doesn’t get to clock out, my wife doesn’t get the satisfaction of seeing a check deposited in the bank in return for her hard work, my wife doesn’t get to eat lunch with coworkers, my wife doesn’t get to just walk outside and just take a deep breath.”

He goes on to recognize Heather and all the caregivers who sacrifice life’s small freedoms to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their kids.

“This may be just a fogged-up piece of glass to some, but to me it means so much more. It’s the little things like this that don’t go unnoticed. it’s the little things like this that constantly remind me how badass she is. it’s the little things like this that make me fall in love with her all over again, Heather Williams! Thank you for being the amazing woman you are… it doesn’t go unnoticed!”

So here’s a reminder to all the dads who tend to slip, or forget how much it takes to raise a child while still basically raising a husband: Take notice. To the moms and partners who often sacrifice their sanity, we see you. Maybe not as often as we should, but we see you and appreciate you more than we’ll ever show. But hell, you already knew that because you are also very smart and understanding and ok now I’m just trying to dig myself out here.

Thank you to Zack and to all the other dads who remind us to step up. Thank you to the moms and dads and caregivers who give of themselves each and every day.

A reminder to give thanks. There should really be a holiday centered around that… maybe with food involved? Stay tuned.

Original Surviving Ghostbusters Confirmed back for 2020 Sequel

Ghostsbusters 2020
(Columbia Pictures)

Grab some popcorn and a box of Ecto-Cooler.

The Ghostbuster sequel you’ve been waiting for has finally wrapped production!

Ok, you may be wary of Hollywood reboots, but there’s some good news with this one. The original cast will return for Ghostbusters 2020. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver triumphantly return to the big screen to join the new cast which includes Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things fame and everyone’s favorite Paul, Paul Rudd.

Murray was spotted a few months ago near the set dining with members of the cast near the production and has since been confirmed.

Absent of course will be Harold Ramis, who passed away in 2014, although Aykroyd recently confirmed in an interview that they’d surely find a way to pay tribute to him in the film. “I miss him a lot. He was, of course, a really intelligent, great writer and collaborator… We paid tribute to him in the movie that Paul Feig made with the girls, he was there in a bust, and Billy and I showed up to work on that because we had faith in that vision… So, we paid tribute to Harold there, and of course, we’ll recognize him in this film in some way, however small.”

The 2016 female-led reimagining directed by Feig didn’t exactly set box offices ablaze, but those involved with this project seem to have confidence that the new installment will appease fans young and old. Along with cameos from the original cast, Ghostbusters 2020 is directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman who directed the first two films. Aykroyd shared his thoughts on the younger Reitman’s approach. “Jason Reitman wrote a beautiful, heartfelt script that takes the real DNA from the first two movies and transfers that directly to the third, the next generation. It hands the legacy off to a new generation of stars, and players, and actors, and characters.”

It’s great news for fans that were left wanting after the 2016 reboot which took place in a different timeline altogether, but moviegoers will have to wait until mid-2020 to find out how this story shakes out. Although billed as a direct sequel to the first two movies, a new cast and director will hopefully bring a new set of fans to the franchise as well. No word yet if actor Rick Moranis will make an appearance in the film, but we can all hope.

Ghostbusters 2020 is set to hit theaters on July 10th, 2020.

High School Football Player Prays With Opponent Whose Mom Has Cancer

Ty Jordan and Gage Smith Pray
(Sherman High School)

Two Texas high school football players from opposing schools left everything on the field during their game last week, but it’s what took place afterward that has since gone viral.

Senior Gage Smith of Sherman High School approached one of his opponents, West Mesquite High School’s Ty Jordan, with a simple request. Smith asked if he could say a prayer with Jordan, whose mother is currently battling stage 4 bone and lung cancer. The two senior athletes — former teammates who played together on a club team over the summer — knelt down on the very field they had just competed on to come together as peers.

Although Smith’s team had won the game, a critical victory on their road to state playoffs, the team captain says that at that moment, all that was put aside. “I would’ve done that whether we would’ve won or lost,” Smith recently shared with TODAY. “During the game we’re enemies and we’re gonna play and try to win the game, but you still have that respect for the other opponent. I wanted to do that for him.”

Moments such as these can be rare, but according to Sherman coach J.D. Martinez, it’s just who Smith is 24/7. “That special moment with Gage, I see that kind of stuff weekly from him,” Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez told TODAY. “I see it all the time. I’m glad that other people are having the opportunity to see it, too.” The school district echoing the coach’s sentiments on Twitter:

As for Smith, the senior safety says it wasn’t about gaining notoriety or trying to make a scene. He was simply reaching out to a friend. “It was meant for just me and him to have a moment and to pray over his family and for his mom,” Smith says. “I just wanted to let him know there are other people thinking about him and his family, and let him know he has somebody to turn to.”

Photos of the exchange were shared and posted to Facebook, the initial post garnering over 100,000 likes before being removed. Both of the teen’s mothers sharing their reactions. Smith’s mom Patricia wishing the Jordan family well, and sharing to Facebook that it’s the things her son does when he thinks no-one is watching is what truly shows his strength of character.

Tiffany Jordan continues her almost year-long battle with multiple cancers, saying that the incident has certainly helped to lift her spirits. “It made me feel really good,” she said. “I’ve been down and depressed, but that has lifted my spirits.” While Tiffany says financial stress with medical bills has been difficult on her family, it’s simple gestures such as these that can often mean the world to those who may be struggling.

“A prayer, a kind word, a hug, especially when you know somebody is going through something, that’s like the best thing you can do for a person.”

6 Tips for Getting Your Kids To Be More Adventurous Eaters

Misha and Adventurous Eaters
(Michéle M. Waite)

What’s your biggest parenting struggle? Sure, bedtime can be a nightmare, and getting them to brush their teeth can often feel more like… well… pulling teeth. However, for most parents of young children, getting kids to eat at mealtime is universally one of the most endless wars fought on a daily basis.

Last night I wanted my kids to eat salad and they wouldn’t, so I told them to put a little dressing on it and they’d like it. Not budging, I changed my approach and called dressing “salad ketchup” and voila! Success. Am I proud of it? Not really. But it worked…

The good news is that Misha Collins has some far better suggestions for you from his new book The Adventurous Eaters Club.

(Michéle M. Waite)

1. Play with your food.

Really! Welcome kids into the kitchen and let them play and experiment. This was the most important step in transforming our family’s relationship with food. It means saying “yes” to some culinary visions that we adults might find, to put it diplomatically, “disgusting.” But the trade-off is that we have more fun at mealtimes together. Kids learn through play, and playing with food helps build familiarity… and if they know what’s in it, they’re more willing to taste it.

2. No force-feeding.

Kids get to choose what to eat from the healthy options you’ve served, and how much to try. Don’t pressure them to eat even a single bite. Serve it and back off. Parental pressure stifles the child’s appetite and kicks off the power struggle. Empower your kids to control their intake. This helps them develop a healthy relationship with food and agency over their body, so no micromanaging, bribing, negotiating, or forcing anything. Serve food. Then eat. They might go hungry sometimes, and that’s a learning experience, too.

3. Don’t short-order cook.

This one is tough. We’ve been so brainwashed to believe that kids only eat “kids’ menu” items, so it’s hard not to prepare special kids’ meals. But if parents keep making grilled cheese day after day, kids get the message that they aren’t expected to learn to eat anything else and they won’t evolve their habits. So one family eats one meal.

4. Don’t Lecture.

You know that dinner guest that goes on and on about their new fad diet or the virtues of probiotics and macronutrients? Yeah. We all do. Nobody wants that guy at the table, so don’t be that guy to your kids. Avoid labeling foods as “healthy” and extolling their virtues. (It turns out, kids become more resistant to foods labeled “healthy” anyway). You don’t work for Big Broccoli, so skip the free sales pitch.

5. Baby steps.

Don’t expect to go from mac & cheese to hot chicken curry overnight. Take it a step at a time, offering a combination of familiar foods plus something new at mealtime. Serve tiny portions of the new foods so kids aren’t intimidated (and to minimize waste). Remember, even if they just smell the food, poke at it suspiciously, or talk about it, that’s part of the learning process—even if they reject it this time. No pressure.

6. Patience.

Remember, you’re training yourself, too. Develop a zen-like patience and don’t forget that taste is learned. It can take children up to 15 tastes to learn to accept and love a new food. Most parents in the US give up after two attempts. So just because your kid might have rejected cabbage on the first one or two or 10 attempts, doesn’t mean they’re biologically incapable of enjoying green food. Studies show that tastes change and given time. Your kids can learn to love the cabbage. Give it time.

(Michéle M. Waite)

The Adventurous Eaters Club is Misha and Vicki Collins’ guidebook to exploring food with your kids with the goal of ending the coerced eating and tantrums while getting your family to love eating more healthy and yes, adventurous meals.

Misha Collins is likely best known for his recurring role on the CW’s Supernatural as Castiel. But now he and his wife, journalist, and historian Vicki Collins, have chronicled their journey through mealtime in a new book due out today. In it, they detail several tips and tricks they learned along the way to help average parents “master the art of family mealtime.”

The couple’s biggest piece of advice is “to make learning fun as you patiently, consistently expose kids to new foods.”

Misha shared with The Dad the couple’s motivation behind their new endeavor. “When my wife and I first became parents, feeding our kids was a struggle. Every meal was a battle — and we usually lost,” Misha admitted, something many parents can relate to quite easily.

“It was all about convenience. We were exhausted, overwhelmed parents in survival mode. But when our toddler hid some unauthorized, unusual groceries in our shopping cart and we let him cook us dinner with these ingredients, it opened our eyes to another path — one that reinvented our family’s relationship with food forever. This cookbook is the story of that transformation and how healthy food became a source of joy, adventure, laughter, and connection.”

In addition to the obvious benefits, their book will have in helping families everywhere cope with this common conundrum, the couple has also pledged to donate 100% of the author profits to charities that provide access to healthy food and the arts. Beneficiaries are organizations such as The Edible Schoolyard Project — a group dedicated to creating hands-on experiences in the garden, kitchen, and cafeteria that connect children to food, nature, and to each other.

So if you’re like most parents and could use a little guidance and support when it comes to tackling those tiny tastebuds, this book is worth a read. It’s available now on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

And you can also check out some of the family’s adventures with food on Misha’s YouTube Channel here.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Gary Sinise Took Over 1,750 Children of Fallen Soldiers to Disney World

Gary Sinise at Airport with kids taking off for Disneyland
(LA Airport Police)

Actor Gary Sinise is likely best known for his big-screen roles such as Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump, or small screen stints on CSI:NY, but it’s what he does off-screen that has many calling him a true hero.

A longtime supporter of American armed forces and military veterans, Sinise has used his talents and celebrity to help countless military and emergency service personnel and their families, especially following the events of 9/11.

In 2010, the actor founded the Gary Sinise Foundation with a mission to “honor our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.” Now entering its 10th year, the foundation raises over $30 million annually which directly goes to benefit vets and their loved ones. 

Take for example Sinise’s work with Gold Star Families — those who have lost a family member in service — and his yearly Snowball Express program. For the past three years, the foundation has hosted these five-day experiences for children of fallen soldiers and their surviving parent or caregiver. Last year it was a trip to Disneyland. Not for just a few kids, which still would be admirable. No, Sinise took over 1700 Gold Star family members on the trip of a lifetime. He, his foundation, and around 1,0000 American Airlines team members who volunteered their time, ensured everyone would make it to the event.

“You cannot underestimate the power of bringing all these kids together in a happy environment because we’re trying to bring joy to them right before the holidays, which is a difficult time for a child who’s lost a parent,” Sinise shared for an interview in The Hollywood Reporter.  “So bringing all these kids together at the happiest place on earth was very, very special.”

While the trips are a great way to provide a little joy around the holidays, Sinise’s foundation also provides services such as counseling and group activities that help focus on the healing side of things. “It’s heartwarming because it makes you feel good to see the kids laughing and having a fun time, but it’s also heartbreaking because you know why they’re there.”

Earlier this year, friends, celebrities and veterans impacted by his work, honored Sinise in a tribute video that had the actor on an emotional rollercoaster as he watched. Actors, directors, and industry peers joined military heavyweights like Gen. Colin Powell who sent messages of thanks and gratitude. “Thank you for all the things you have done for our men and women who have served our nation,” Powell remarks in the clip. “Not only what you’ve done for them but for their children, what you’ve done for their families, what you’ve done to help them rebuild their lives.”

While we’re not all famous celebrities with a Rolodex of famous friends, Sinise and his foundation stress the importance just once small act can make. The foundation encourages everyone to share a comment or video expressing their thanks to someone in their own lives who shows kindness and dedication to others using the hashtag #GratefulLkeGary.

Hats off to Sinise and all the other celebrities who use their fame to raise awareness and donations for such important causes.

Unable to Afford Childcare, Providence Mayor Brings Son to Work

Mayor Jorge Elorza Takes son to Work
(Today)

Childcare expenses can be one of the most daunting costs for families across the country. While the plight of a single parent can be apparent, many dual-income Americans struggle with daycare costs regardless of their station. Take for example Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Jorge Elorza.

Although Elorza sits at the helm of a bustling capital city with an estimated population of over 180,000, he, like many of his constituents, seems to fall short financially when it comes to affording full-time childcare. A new father of a 15-month-old, Elorza now brings his son Omar to work with him — not for fun, but out of sheer necessity. In addition to bringing his son, the mayor is bringing some much-needed light to the troubling situation by sharing his story.

“We went to see a day care center, and both Stephanie and I fell in love with the place,” Elorza told TODAY for their digital series, Dads Got This!

“Then at the end, they passed us the brochure and it was $395 a week. We looked at each other and were like, ‘I guess that ain’t gonna happen.” It’s a conversation many couples can relate to as costs continue to rise on everything from groceries to homes.

The mayor’s wife, Stephanie, is enrolled in law school full-time, so with just one paycheck coming in, the estimated $20,000 per year would be far out of reach for the couple. Luckily they, along with many Americans, turned to their parents who lived close by. “We literally drove from the day care center to my parents’ house,” he said. “And that’s been our day care. So my parents take care of the baby during the week. And her parents chip in during the weekend. And her being a law student, she’s just as busy as I am, if not more. So we’re, like, just juggling and struggling every day like other parents.”

But when unexpected meetings arise, or sessions being early in the morning, Elorza and his infant son attend meetings together.  It’s temporary, but a solution the dad is grateful to have. “We have a nice little basket of toys, so he knows his little station and he knows how to play,” but Elorza is quick to point out the double standard that still exists in the workplace. “There have been comments, that if I was a woman and I was bringing my child in to work, then that would be seen very, very differently.”

Elorza agrees. “I think that’s true. I think there is still absolutely a double standard. The extension of that isn’t, ‘Let’s criticize Jorge the way women are criticized,’ it’s ‘Let’s not criticize women for doing it either.’”

In addition, the mayor has been hard at work crafting legislation and policy to assist families in the community facing the same issues. The city now provides summer camps for just $5/week, and longterm the mayor has hopes of establishing universal pre-k across Providence. He has even encouraged other parents at City Hall and attendees of meetings to follow his lead if they need to do so. “I want (other parents) to feel comfortable bringing their child in as well,” he said. “We want to be accommodating to families that do this.”

Elorza is only the latest in a number of dads attempting to bring these issues to the forefront of our political and social conversations.

In addition, his son Omar is getting a firsthand look at American politics. “For him to be part of that, even at the beginning of his life, will be gratifying for him in the future.” Perhaps a 2054 Presidential run is currently in the making? Time will tell.

Single Dad Who Has Fostered Over 30 Kids Officially Adopts 5 Siblings

Lamont Thomas Adopts 5 Siblings
(Facebook/Anna Miller)

Lamont Thomas has long been an advocate for children as a foster parent in Buffalo, NY. Back in 2000, friends of Lamont had lost their child to social services. Wanting to help, he stepped in to care for the child, an act of kindness that led to Thomas becoming a certified foster parent.

Over the past two decades, the single father has helped raise over 30 children, eventually adopting five of them permanently. That made Lamont father to a total of seven kids including his two biological children LaMonia and Anthony, and the very first boy he ever fostered, Michael. “He was my third foster home and it ended up being my forever home,” 27-year-old Michael Thomas recalled to Good Morning America.

But seven of his own was plenty for Lamont. After Michael, who was the last to be officially adopted, Lamont was ready to settle down and enjoy watching his children build their own lives.

However, fate stepped in recently, bringing the retired caregiver back into the system. Five young siblings were in need of a home. Their father was once in Lamont’s care, so he knew what he had to do. “They had them in four different homes, four different cities. They were separated for over a year-and-a-half,” he shared. Lamont reapplied to the foster program with the intent to adopt all five of the children. After fostering all five kids in-home for the past two years, Lamont made it official last week, adopting the siblings and welcoming them into his family permanently.

“They bring new energy to me. They’re lovable kids, very affectionate,” Lamont said.” “They deserve to be raised as siblings, and that was my fight.” Michael told GMA that caring for children is his father’s “God-given call.” His sister LaMonica echoing the sentiment. “It’s amazing he’s taking on all of them. He does anything for everybody. He’s a really a great man.”

As for Lamont, he’s just glad he could once again be a positive force in these children’s lives, telling GMA “I wanted to make a difference by being a difference, and I love what I do.”

Lamont says there is always a need for foster parents and encourages individuals to apply. To learn more about foster care programs in your area, visit the Children’s Bureau.

Ohio Barber’s Act of Compassion For Child With Autism Goes Viral

(Marky Fresh/Ashley Juby)

Getting a haircut can be a trying experience for many youngsters. Letting a relative stranger into their child’s personal space can be just as difficult for parents, so anytime the routine can be made a little smoother is a win-win for everyone involved.

Earlier this month an Ohio barber has made headlines for what he says was a small, simple gesture he hopes anyone would do in the same situation. Marco Conti, co-owner of Marky Fresh Barbershop, recently told TODAY ”I really didn’t feel like it was such a big deal at the time. I felt like anyone would do that.”

Back on October 12th, Conti had an appointment with 7-year-old Brycen Juby. Brycen was diagnosed with Autism at age two and was nonverbal until the age of five, making things like a visit to the barber an even more tenuous situation than other children his age. But Brycen’s parent’s decided it was finally time to give it another shot.

Brycen’s mom, Ashley called to make an appointment. ”She wanted to bring her son in during a non-busier time of the day, so it would be a little more easier on him,” Conti recalls. But when Brycen and his dad arrived, the barber says he could immediately tell he’d have to figure out a creative solution. “He felt super emotional, crying inside about to get his haircut,” Conti said. “I could tell he felt more comfortable outside so I was like right off the cuff, ‘What if we cut your hair outside? Would you feel more comfortable?’ He agreed. I just wanted to make him feel safe and comfortable.”

Conti slid one of the waiting area chairs out front and set up shop. A coworker snapped a photo that has now made the rounds from morning shows to news sites around the world.

So why does such a simple act of understanding and compassion go viral? The truth is as common as it may seem, these bright spots can often be few and far between in today’s society. Add to that our desire to escape the endless political headlines and you have a recipe for internet rocket fuel.

People sounded off on Conti’s post, with parents of special needs children giving kudos to the business owner for “thinking outside the box” and making the experience a positive one. Brycen’s mom telling TODAY “To have a company so willing to accommodate is such a relief on my end or my husband’s end,” Ashley Juby said. “It’s pretty fantastic.”

Brycen’s mom sharing his handsome as heck picture-day-look to social media with a reminder for other parents. “I found if you reach out, there are good people that are willing to help you.”

While Conti was thrilled to have the influx of attention to his social media and business, the real reward for him was simply having another satisfied customer. In true barber fashion, he closes with a solid piece of advice:

“Be compassionate to one another,” the barber said. “Even the smallest act of kindness can mean the world to someone.”

The Dad Crew Is Gaming For Good And We Need Your Help!

What could possibly better than spending the day playing video games? What about a day spent gaming that benefits children in need?

Well that’s the name of the game here at The Dad as we join gamers around the world to give back this weekend.

In partnership with Extra Life, an organization that works with gamers to turn their gaming into donations from friends and fans, The Dad Gaming will be hosting a 24-hour marathon of gaming, all to benefit children’s hospitals across the United States. Anyone can participate and compete for prizes, watch from home on Twitch, or donate to the cause.

Executive Editor of The Dad, Joel Willis, says it’s been a dream of his and the team’s to leverage their love of gaming for a good cause. “Since The Dad started in November 2017, gaming has been a favorite topic of our team and our audience. So creating a gaming group with virtual gaming events was an exciting and natural fit.”

Like many parents who came of age in the 90s, video games were a major part of growing up for Willis. However as real life sets in, parents often have little time for what was once a huge influence in their younger years. “Until I bought my kids a Nintendo Switch last Christmas, I hadn’t had a gaming system of my own since Nintendo 64,” Willis admits. However thanks to new gaming systems and revamped classics, the entire family can now game together in ways never before possible.

So Willis and his crew set out to form a team of dads and moms who can game together. “We created The Dad Gaming group on Facebook a couple of months ago. We’re now closing in on 10,000 group members. We have regular events/leagues in 7 games: Fortnite, Call of Duty, Mario Kart, PUBG, Madden, Rocket League, and Destiny, with more to come.”

To celebrate the group’s success, The Dad Team will be gaming for good in a 24-hour mega marathon beginning Saturday, November 2nd. “At The Dad, we love giving back and spotlighting those in need, so Extra Life is a perfect fit,” Willis says, adding “I see it as a walkathon for charity, except with video games.” That’s right. You can raise money form your couch. 2019 baby!

An initial schedule of events has been released, but like your kid making up their mind on a halloween costume, it’s subject to change.

(The Dad Gaming | Extra Life)

The team has set an ambitious goal of raising $10,000 in just one day so we need your help! We’re still looking for gamers, so anyone interested in joining our team or donating before the event can visit the team’s official fundraising page here.

Reuben Qualls, Team Captain here at The Dad, will be raising money for UC Davis Children’s Miracle Network, but there are children’s charities across the nation who need your support. Qualls says no matter who you’re playing for, it’s all about spreading the word on game day. “On the Extra Life event page on Facebook, we’ve linked all kinds of helpful information from Extra Life itself, including articles on best practices for fundraising, a Media Kit with things like flyers and avatars you can use to help in your fundraising efforts, as well as a Broadcaster Kit, with all kinds of stuff any participating streamers can use to add some Extra Life flair to their streams.”

So this weekend you can put away the mower and hunker in for some flatscreen fury and join us as we play for a purpose and have a few laughs too. We’ll be sharing updates throughout the weekend, so stay tuned for even more info heading your way!