Father’s Day is coming up. No doubt lots of kids will be going on a special outing with their dad, or creating gifts, or even giving their father the old stand-by gift, a necktie. But since so many children don’t have the means to celebrate like this with their fathers, United Way of Northern New Jersey hosts an annual gift drive. United Way staff and volunteers work with community partners to host a “gift boutique,” where Warren County children in need can experience the joy of selecting, wrapping, and presenting a gift to their parent or caregiver. Over the last few years, thousands of gifts have been donated to the boutique from throughout the community.
I love this idea, helping kids thank their parents. I also love how United Way of the Wabash Valley has helped young children see firsthand that men value reading and education as much as women do. Through the “Real Men Read” program, dads and other adult volunteers read to kindergartners in their classrooms and distribute copies of the books to the children to keep. Often these books are the first the child has ever received. Helping kids develop good reading skills at a young age will help them succeed in school – something fathers, mothers and the rest of the community all want for our youth.
On Father’s Day and every day, United Way Worldwide wants to thank concerned dads and other men who give back in so many ways to help our kids. Will you pass on our thanks to the caring men you know? And when you do, you might suggest that they channel that passion for helping kids by joining others in taking the pledge to read, tutor or mentor a child in the coming year. So many kids need just a little help and guidance from a caring adult that will make a world of difference in their lives. Who knows – a dad who volunteers today might help a child become a better father in the future. Let us know what you think, and what more we can do to encourage and support dads and other men who volunteer.