When the opportunity arises to inspire the next generation, will anyone answer the call?
That is the question children’s advocate Kristina Chäadé Dove must have asked herself when she put out a request for volunteers on social media.
Billy Earl Dade Middle School in Dallas was hosting its annual “Breakfast with Dads” event, but the organizers feared that attendance would be low. Dove’s Facebook post asked if 50 men could take an hour out of their schedules to mentor the boys of this middle school that serves a predominantly lower-income population.
The post was shared and shared again and nearly 600 men responded, exceeding Dove’s wildest expectations and forcing the school to move the event from the cafeteria to the much larger gymnasium.
The surrogate dads didn’t arrive empty-handed; they brought extra ties along to teach the boys an important life skill that every man must have. Stephanie Drenka, a Dallas photographer and blogger who chronicled the event wrote, “the sight of a necktie may forever bring a tear to my eye.” But the ties were just the beginning.
The 600 men in the room also brought lifetimes of passion, experience, compassion and inspiration to a group of young men who don’t always have a positive male role model in their lives.
The event truly took a community to make it a success. The larger venue required more volunteers to help with setup, check-in, and other logistics. According to Drenka, volunteers from all over “showed up alongside the male mentors to make the event possible.” The event clearly meant as much to the mentors as it did to the students.
“There were so many volunteers, that at times I saw young men huddled in the center of 4-5 mentors. The look of awe- even disbelief- in students’ eyes as they made their way through the crowd of ‘Dads’ was astonishing.”
The normally sardonic Twitter took notice and could not help but share this feel good story.
BEST STORY OF THE DAY: South Dallas middle school started a “Breakfast with Dads” program but many dads couldn’t make it and several students didn't have father figures. The school posted a Facebook request for 50 volunteer fathers… 600 fathers from all backgrounds showed up… pic.twitter.com/y7W9R3qFcs
— Jerica Phillips (@Jerica_Phillips) January 4, 2018
People felt all the feelings.
I am not crying, who's crying…https://t.co/frqskM0Y5X
— Norm (@NIHAustin) January 5, 2018
But mostly they felt inspired.
500 fathers showed up to this "Breakfast with dads" mentor event in Dallas. Amazing! https://t.co/sW9KcLRqBr
— xoNecole (@xonecole) January 9, 2018
So inspiring! Men giving back to be volunteer "dads" for middle school boys. #DadsMatter Hundreds of men show up for Dallas school's 'Breakfast with Dads' event – ABC News – https://t.co/51VjKSZSHU via @ABC
— Briana Gowing (@texasex9) January 9, 2018
In a time when bad news seems to be the only news, it’s easy to forget that there are good men out there. And with enthusiastic role models to guide them, another group of good men will soon be graduating from Billy Earl Dade Middle School.