By Rob McDaniel
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — South Laurel Middle School students got to spend some quality time with their fathers Thursday morning as the school hosted their first All Pro Dad meeting of the school year.
South Laurel Middle School is one of several Laurel County schools that participate in the All Pro Dad program, which was created by former NFL greats Mark Merrell and Tony Dungy.
The two started the program because their NFL careers had caused them to feel like they weren’t able to spend enough time with their families and they believed in the importance of fathers spending quality time with their children.
Now, once a month, students get the chance to spend a little time with their dads before school.
“All Pro Dad is an awesome program,” said South Laurel Middle School Family Resource Coordinator Charity Fuson. “Dads can come have breakfast with their child and do something important, spend a little time with their kid.”
The program takes place the second Thursday of every month at 7:15 a.m. and lasts about an hour.
“We meet once a month to cover a variety of topics; these topics help build character and strengthen the relationship between fathers and their children,” said Sean Swinney, assistant principal.
Fathers aren’t the only people who can participate. Fuson encourages any father figure or role model to come join the monthly program.
“We have uncles and maybe even brothers that come out,” Fuson said. “Maybe a student is being raised by their uncle or grandparent, we want to help those families build stronger bonds, too.”
The goal of the program, according to the videos played during the meeting by the Tony Dungy Foundation, is to provide a way for father figures to show they love and support their children. It’s a way to help with time management issues that prevent the father and child from bonding.
The program costs the school $25 a year for a membership with the Tony Dungy Foundation. The fee is paid for by the school and goes towards paying for the programming and worksheets that are presented each month.
“Since we started doing All Pro Dad, we’ve had an overwhelming demand from students for a similar program for their moms,” said Swinney. “We ended up developing our own program for moms, Awesomely Incredible Moms or AIM. We decided on this because sons and daughters want to do something with mom too.”
Specifics on the dates and time of AIM have yet to be determined, but an announcement is expected to be made in the near future.
For more information on the All Pro Dads or AIM program, contact Charity Fuson at (606) 864-4748.