FORT WAYNE—The Fort Wayne Commission on African American Males is scheduled to host its annual back to school event, which is designed to get fathers more involved in the education of their children. The 2nd Annual Glynn Hines Back to School Fatherhood Initiative is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Aug. 9 at McMillen Park Community Center, 3901 Abbott St.
The event—named in honor of the longtime 6th District councilman is scheduled to include a keynote speech by education consultant and noted author Juwanza Kunjufu, who has written more than 25 books, including the “Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys,” “State of Emergency: We Must Save African American Males” and “Restoring the Village: Solutions for the Black Family.”
The event will also include the giveaway of backpacks and supplies to the first 400 fathers or male mentors who sign up to take the Fatherhood Initiative pledge. The pledge calls for fathers to take their children to school on the first day of school and stay involved during the school year.
“We are extremely pleased to host the 2nd Annual Fatherhood Initiative at the newly renovated McMillen Community Center,” said Councilman Hines. “Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu is a renown author who will share his keen insight on the challenges of the fathers, mentors and youth who attend on Saturday.”
“With everything going on in our community – the unemployment, underemployment and other issues – now is the time to re-engage fathers in the lives of our children and their education,” said Andre Patterson, chair of the Commission. “We know that, with the involvement of fathers in education, grades go up and delinquent behavior goes down.”
The Back to School event will also include free food and workshops on anger management, mental health, education and criminal record expungement. Sponsors for the event include Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, the City of Fort Wayne, the Fort Wayne Urban League, Parkview Health, Albright’s Meats & Deli, Comcast and Sweetwater Sound.
The local Back to School Initiative coincides with a national movement to get fathers more involved in their children’s education. The “Million Father March,” led by the Black Star Project, will take place in 700 cities nationwide this month.
More than 250 fathers or male mentors participated in the first Back to School initiative in August 2013 and took a pledge.
The Fort Wayne Commission African American Males, which was re-established in June 2013, includes representatives from throughout the community. The Commission works to enhance the lives of black males in all areas and seeks to forge partnerships with other groups, organizations or entities who strive to achieve the same goal.