June 19, 2016
By Mike Brown
Inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon more than 100 years ago, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd wondered why there was no similar holiday for fathers. One of six children, Dodd felt her father, who was a single father, and others deserved to be honored.
After securing support from ministers in Spokane, Washington, her idea came to fruition with the first Father's Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Many years passed before the day became a national holiday, but today, we use the day to honor the fathers and father figures in our lives.
Today, the YMCA of Rock River Valley joins the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the influence fathers and adult-male role models have in children’s lives. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million — or one in three — children live without their biological fathers. Societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect a father’s ability to seek support in strengthening his parenting skills and becoming more engaged in the lives of his children.
The Y, a leading nonprofit in fostering positive youth development, is dedicated to providing both resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children.
Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence and exhibit less depression, perform better academically and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use.
We celebrate dads on Father’s Day and we recognize how important it is for children to grow up with adult role models who are committed, responsible and involved. Dads need support to be the best parents and caregivers they can be, and this holiday helps to remind us of that.
The YMCA of Rock River Valley offers a variety of programs that foster understanding and companionship between children and their caregivers, such as family movie nights, open-music studio, art projects and more.
In communities across the country, the Y is committed to ensuring that the nine million children and teens in YMCA programs reach their full potential by helping them grow — physically, mentally and socially — from young children into active, engaged members of their communities.
To learn more about programs and activities available at the YMCA of Rock River Valley, contact us at 815-489-1252 or 815-885-6800, or visit rockriverymca.org.
Mike E. Brown is president and CEO of the YMCA of Rock River Valley.
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