More than 200 fathers, grandfathers and uncles whose children attend 34th Avenue Elementary School in the Pine Bluff School District brought their kids to school Thursday as part of the Million Father March.
The March is a national effort with participants in 600 cities nationwide and is intended to make fathers and father figures aware that in order for their children to succeed, active adult participation in their education is required.
Clifton O’Neal is the president of 100 Men Who Care, a volunteer group committed to giving young people positive male role models in the community.
“I’m glad to see so many men at something other than a sporting event,” O’Neal said. “Academics are important too. All of us together can make the community better. Remember that your children are always watching you. They will want to dress like you dress, talk like you talk, and walk like you walk.”
“I told a child something once and he said to me if what you were saying were important my dad would have told me that,” O’Neal said. “So what are you teaching your child?”
Vernice Lowery, principal at 34th, said the March is an effort to recognize the power of male involvement in the education of students and to encourage active participation in their educational and social development.
The men also signed a pledge to be engaged in the education of their children, which includes volunteering at least 10 hours every school year; picking up progress or grade reports; meeting with teachers and participating in other activities that will help achieve the best academic and social outcomes for their child.