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High 5 Dads provides hope, enthusiasm for the youthDate: 08/28/2017
The first High 5 Dads of the 2017-2018 academic year was dominated by big smiles, laughter, and lots of enthusiasm.
Spearheaded by the Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE), Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS), Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and the Arkansas Head Start State Collaborative Office (AHSSCO), High 5 Dads were in force on the opening day of school. Based on the reaction of students, parents, faculty members, and volunteers, the youth motivational venture was a major success.
“Together we made a difference in the lives of our children. All it took was just a single hand held out to greet and encourage the students as they entered the school,” said AHSSCO Director Jackie Govan. “Actions of that nature increase a student's self-esteem and will help them have a better day. As a result, the youth has an attitude that is apt for learning. I salute all the men who volunteered for High 5 Dads.”
“It was a humbling and exciting experience seeing fathers engaged in their child’s social, emotional, and educational endeavors,” said DBHS Early Intervention and Prevention Director, Tenesha Barnes. “It is important to remember that children represent our future. We should always encourage, support, and provide them with proper guidance.”
High 5 Dads was held at Bale Elementary and College Station Elementary in Little Rock, Bryant Elementary, and Grenville Elementary, Dollarway Elementary, and W.T. Cheney Elementary in Pine Bluff.
Men representing various fraternities, churches and civic organizations joyfully greeted the students as they helped promote four standards:
- Proper behavior practices
- Astute decision-making
- High self-esteem; confidence in their ability to excel academically and socially
- Reminding men – especially fathers – to embrace the idea of remaining involved in their child’s life
A program of the AHSSCO and DCCECE Fatherhood Initiative, High5 Dads embodied the importance of divisions and agencies collaborating to enhance the standard of living for Arkansas’ youth.
“Seeing the unity between each of the men gave me a strong sense of hope,” said DCCECE Program Administrator and Fatherhood Initiative Chairman Ivory Daniels. “Those men volunteered their time to help deliver the message that we want dads to be involved in their child’s educational, social, emotional, and developmental well-being.”
“Collaboration is extremely necessary in the success of the fatherhood mission and vision. Each entity brings resources and ideas to this initiative,” Daniels stated. “Through its Project Launch grant, DBHS was able to provide the students with gifts and school supplies. DCFS supported the mission as it had staff participate in this event as well. Each of those entities had a major role in the planning and the implementation of the events.”
Elementary schools that have a high volume of its student-body residing in low-income households were selected for High 5 Dads. The Fatherhood Initiative will work with those same schools throughout the year. The next High 5 Dads is slated for test-season, when school districts administer government mandated standardized tests.
Daniels wants High 5 Dads to have the same impact during that juncture of the year as it did on the opening day of school.
“Some of the students looked upset, sad, or scared as they walked to the school building,” he said. “But seeing their disposition suddenly change when they saw the excitement of the men motivating students to strive for success was certainly a tear-jerking moment.”
Cutline: Ivory Daniels, of the Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) (center) joins several other men in greeting students of Little Rock's Bale Elementary during a High 5 Dads event on the first day of school August 14. Dads from throughout the community greeted parents and children with fist bumps, high fives, and cheers as they entered school. The High 5 project is sponsored in part by the DHS DCCECE, Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS), Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS), AETN, Project LAUNCH Arkansas, and the Arkansas Head Start State Collaboration Office (AHSSCO).