Astorino Promotes "Dads Take Your Child to School Day"
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2017DadsSchoolDaySept. 14, 2017 -- Mark your calendars: “Dads Take Your Child to School Day” is taking place in schools across Westchester County on Tuesday, September 19. To promote the importance of the day, County Executive Robert P. Astorino today joined with Schools Superintendent Joseph Ricca and two dozen educators, advocates and families for a kickoff at Ridgeway Elementary School in White Plains.

“Dads Take Your Child to School Day is a great way to get the school year started off right – and to keep it going strong all year long,” said Astorino, a father of three. “Please join us and show our children we care about their education. Kids aren’t always going to say thank you, but you know it means a lot to them.”

Westchester’s Dads Take Your Child to School Day is part of a statewide campaign that encourages fathers, stepfathers, foster fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, godfathers, and other significant male caregivers to be positive role models throughout the year. Moms are of course welcome, too.

If you are a school leader, please visit the statewide campaign site to register your school at www.dadstakeyourchildtoschoolday.com . You can also learn more by contacting Joseph D. Kenner, Westchester County Department of Social Services Deputy Commissioner, at   or (914) 995-3287.

Astorino also used the kickoff as an opportunity to announce a $1,000 donation to the Westchester Library System (WLS) from the New York Fathering Conference Planning Committee to support reading programs for low-income families. The New York Fathering Conference will take place on April 3, 2018, at the Westchester County Center with a focus on literacy and education.

“I encourage dads to not only take their child to school, but also to their local public library to discover a wide range of services and programs that make it fun to learn together, as a family,” said WLS executive director Terry L. Kirchner. “There are so many different opportunities to be connected with your children.”

In White Plains, over 1,000 dads and male caregivers will take part in Dads Take Your Child to School Day activities throughout the district’s schools.

“The focus to include dads and male caregivers in the educational process is critical,” said Superintendent Ricca. “We know that when our children recognize that their dads value their efforts at school, they work hard to continue to succeed and do their very best. When their dads take an active role, our children are positioned well to flourish.”

Ridgeway Principal Tashia Brown added: “It’s really such an awesome day to see so many dads involved in the schools. And we always remind them: we don’t want this to be emblematic of just an event. We need you to be engaged in all our events, and to come out to our PTA meetings, too.”

In the United States, 24 million kids – or 1 in 3 – are growing up without their biological father in the home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Research shows, however, that students with involved fathers do better academically, enjoy school more, and stay in school longer, according to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, a resource of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
White Plains resident John Pasacreta attended the kickoff with his son Luke, a fifth-grader at Ridgeway, saying that family is the highest priority and he’s willing to do anything to be there for his kids.

“I think the children do really appreciate it. They may not necessarily thank you out loud but I think they do, deep down, believe that it is important for them,” said Pasacreta, a father of three. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do. It just goes by way too fast.”

Dads Take Your Child to School Day is part of Astorino’s ongoing #DadBeThere fatherhood initiative, which focuses on supporting the full spectrum of fathers – from those who are active in the home to those who are not. Programs range from career counseling, job placement assistance and child-support arrears repayment programs to simply creating more opportunities for dads and families to spend time together. Visit www.westchestergov.com/dadbethere to learn more.

Families are encouraged to share their proud moments using the hashtags #DadBeThere and #DadsTakeYourChildtoSchoolDay.