WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N. Y. -- Calling all Westchester dads. County Executive Robert P. Astorino wants you to take your kids to school on Tuesday.
Astorino joined with educators, fathers, legislators and advocates Wednesday at Oakside Elementary School in Peekskill to promote the county's 2016 Dads Take Your Child to School Day set for Sept. 20.
He's inviting schools throughout Westchester County to participate in a special day to encourage involvement of fathers, and father figures, in the lives of children. It is part of a statewide campaign to recognize the importance of fathers, stepfathers, foster fathers, grandfathers and all other male caregivers.
“Please join us and show our children we care about their education and will be there for them all year long," said Astorino, father of three. "We understand that not all families are the same, though, so by all means any father figure, mom or caregiver is encouraged to participate, too.”
In Peekskill, dads who take their children to school are also invited to breakfast and a brief workshop, followed by a presentation of volunteer opportunities available. After that, adults participating will be able to join their children in the classroom.
“Last year our father figures really embraced our Dads Take Your Child to School Day event,” said David Fine, superintendent of the Peekskill City School District. "The day is a wonderful opportunity for bonding."
School leaders wanting to participate can register online. Also, more details are available by calling Joseph D. Kenner of the Westchester County Department of Social Services at (914)-995-3287.
Staci Woodley, principal of Oakside Elementary where the kick-off event was held, said it is important for children to start early building relationships with the men in their lives.
“One of my favorite quotes from Frederick Douglas says, ‘It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,' " Woodley said.
Officials noted that, nationwide, one in three children grow up without a significant male influence. Research shows that children do better in school when they have involved fathers and father figures, according to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services' National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse.
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