It wasn’t too long ago that Fathers Incorporated, a leading national nonprofit for the promotion of Responsible Fatherhood, launched its new initiative, Real Dads Read (RDR), in Atlanta, GA. The initial project objective was to create literacy centers in barbershops with the goal of encouraging father-child involvement through reading and improving literacy for young children. Today, with help from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, RDR has established 26 libraries in barbershops around metro Atlanta and 9 in Columbus, GA. In addition, 45 barbershops and partners engaged in a citywide book drive, collecting 2,245 books, which included a large donation from the Atlanta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi.
“We are encouraged that so many organizations have come on board to celebrate and support the effort of Real Dads Read,” says Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director of Fathers Incorporated. “The inquires to bring the project to other cities around the country are overwhelming. We have had to temper the excitement because we are still building our capacity to meet the tremendous need and requests for RDR,” Braswell continues. “Fathers Incorporated is now working on building the RDR infrastructure to support broader and more intentional programmatic activities.” Currently, RDR has a pilot site in Columbus, GA with its partner, Chattahoochee Valley Parent 2 Parent.
One RDR program objective is the creation of a national engagement day. Fathers Incorporated is pleased to announce its inaugural National Real Dads Read Day on June 9, 2017. This day is designed to encourage individuals, groups, businesses, etc. to plan reading activities in support of fathers/male caregivers and their children. “This day supports all our program outcomes for children,” says Lamont Jones, co-partner of RDR and CEO of Furthering Fathering. While RDR is designed to encourage all fathers to read to their children, there is a focus on children of color, particularly in low-income communities.
Real Dads Read is aimed at elementary and middle school aged children (K-8) and their fathers/male caregivers with the goals of 1) encouraging children to develop a love of reading, 2) improving children’s literacy skills and educational outcomes, and 3) strengthening bonds between fathers/caregivers and their children.
National Real Dads Read Day will take place each year on the 2nd Friday of June. “This isn’t complicated; children do better on a host of measures, including reading, when fathers are actively involved in their care, so we simply want to earmark this day to encourage reading among dads and their children and remind the public of the important roles fathers play in the lives of their children. We encourage whatever you can do as a dad, individual, group, business, or organization to help achieve this outcome. Let us know about your efforts and plans so we can let others know,” says Braswell. RDR is planning a twitter chat (@RealDadsRead), social media contest (#2017NATRDR), and other fun activities to support National Real Dads Read Day on June 9, 2017.
Fathers Incorporated has submitted several requests to cities to proclaim June 9th as National Real Dads Read Day, including Atlanta and Columbus.
For tips on engaging fathers, barbershops, planning events and more information on National Real Dads Read Day visit their website at www.realdadsread.org, email us at fathers firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our office at 770-804-9800.