Dads, father figures set example in Camden during walk to school event

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Friday, September 22, 2023
Dads, father figures set example in Camden at walk to school event
Dads, father figures set example in Camden, New Jersey during walk to school event

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A large group of men took part in am annual event where they walked kids to school at the Dudley Family School in Camden, New Jersey.

The event has been such a hit, it's become something they do every year.

One of their major goals is to squash stereotypes that place fathers simply as providers and to show they can be caregivers and nurturers with positive involvement in a child's life.

This event is called Dads/Role Models Take Your Child to School Day and it wasn't only for biological fathers, but also anyone who serves as a father figure.

"A lot of them grew up without a father figure, so I'm proud to say that I'm their step dad," said Manolo Arroyo.

His step-daughters, 6th grader Cecilia Lopez and 8th grader Amina Lopez, are appreciative.

"Some people don't have dads to come here and I'm grateful to be able to have somebody to come here and support me," said Cecilia.

"It's just an honor to have him here," said Amina.

Camden City School District employees said the research proves it and they've also seen first hand how a positive and active father figure can help make a difference in a child's education, and emotional well-being.

"There is a change because that child has the extra support that is needed to help push them through their academic goals, but also help push them toward other goals in their lives and making positive connections," said Nefessa Wiggins of School Based Youth Services Program.

"It gives them an insight on how to be good, where to go in life and stay focused," said parent Carlo Freeman.

Families also heard from community leaders and a representative from the Center of Family Services' Framing Fatherhood program. It offers training to help dads with everything that comes with parenting.