Roughly 30 fathers took part in the second “Bring Your Dad to Afterschool” day hosted by the Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD).
The program comes on the same day as the decades-long national campaign “Dads Take Your Child To School,” which this year was on September 17.
Both programs aim strengthen the presence of fathers in the education of their children.
At P.S. 89 in Elmhurst, DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong said he wanted fathers to see first-hand a vital program for so many families in Queens.
“Fathers are often unsung heroes in the lives of their children,” he said. “Every so often, it’s nice to give them their due for the important role they are playing in their child’s life.”
Last week, second and third graders took part in STEM-related activities while first graders did yoga. But before the activities began, students met with their fathers for homework help in classrooms.
One school per borough took part in the program this year. P.S. 89 is the largest elementary school in Queens with over 1,500 students, and many working families rely on the afterschool program.
Over the years, Chong has worked to overhaul the city’s afterschool programs to be more exciting and relevant.
The Comprehensive After School System (COMPASS) added programs like STEM, dance, and culinary arts. One of the most popular programs involves a partnership with the Institute of Culinary Education called “Recipe Rescue.”
Teams of students take a traditional family recipe and making it healthier, and then Cornell dieticians evaluate their work.
Chong said DYCD also expanded the School’s Out NYC program to teach middle schoolers how to spend their free time. He wants children to make decisions where they find themselves in a learning and supportive environment instead of hanging with the wrong crowd.
“We want kids to have a safe place where they can discover who they are, what their interests are, maybe what they do really well, what areas they need to work on and really just have fun,” said Nick Ferreira, vice president of youth development at The Child Center of NY. “That is the biggest thing.
“For the families, the goal is we want them to be able to focus on work,” he added. “Don’t worry about where your baby is today. We got them.”
Julio Beltran says he has noticed the positive impact of the programs on his whose fourth-grade daughter Kimberly
“I’m very excited, to be honest,” he said of visiting the program last week, “because it’s great to be able to be part of my daughter’s education for the first time.”