Photo by Patrick Reddy/Enquirer
By Sarah Hardee
INDEPENDENCE — Mike Milton and his 10-year-old son, Jack, had to wake up and head to school a little earlier than usual on Tuesday morning, but their breakfast together – and the conversation that ensued – made it well worth it.
The father-son duo joined about 50 dads and their children for breakfast at Kenton Elementary School bright and early on Tuesday for the kick off of the school’s All Pro Dad program.
As part of the national program, which is sponsored by Florida-based nonprofit Family First, fathers and their children gather for breakfast once a month to bond, and discuss topics like peer pressure, goal setting and caring for the less fortunate through a variety of program materials.
Kenton Elementary, the first school here in Northern Kentucky to offer the program, started its chapter with a bang, according to Melody Simms, the school’s Family Resource Center coordinator.
“We had about 120 people at the first event, and we were thrilled with the turnout,” said Simms, who will lead the school’s chapter. “I think it shows how many great, involved dads we have at Kenton Elementary and demonstrates the need schools have for a program like this.”
All Pro Dad, launched in 1997, is held at sites across the country and has recently partnered with the National PTA. The program aims to give men the resources and encouragement they need to become better fathers. It’s built on a football theme and features more than 60 NFL players, coaches and alumni who speak out on the importance of being a good father, according to the program’s website, www.AllProDad.com.
The success of the growing program, which also provides dads with daily “Play of the Day” emails with parental advice, is due in part to its simplicity, Milton said.
Even the busiest dads can likely make room in their schedules for a once-a-month, weekday breakfast, he said.
“Any time I can participate in something with my son at his school, I’m in,” said Milton, of Independence. “This program is especially unique because it’s designed specifically for dads, and it makes it easy for us to take a little time out to interact not just with our kids, but also with other dads.”
Because of the success of Kenton Elementary School’s first breakfast, the school may start offering two dates to choose from each month, Simms said.
“We had an unbelievable crowd, but that’s a good problem to have,” she said.
Kenton is still working out the logistics, and the school is also hoping for some more breakfast sponsors. Chick-fil-A in Florence provided the meal for the first breakfast event, but more sponsors and donations are needed for subsequent events, Simms said.
“All Pro Dad will make a huge impact here and, hopefully, as the word gets out, at other local schools as well,” she said. “We were really happy with the feedback from our first event and hope it continues to grow from here.”
Taylor Mill Elementary School will kick off its All Pro Dad program in October.
For details about the program, or to find a local chapter, visit www.AllProDad.com.