When Billy Earle Dade Middle School was preparing to kick off it's first Dad's Breakfast, the school was just short of male volunteers to serve as mentors. A Facebook post went viral and soon caught the attention of the Dallas Morning News. The school was looking for 50 male volunteers but instead they had almost 600 people arrive at the school on Thursday morning.
Principal Tracie Washington started the meeting off by thanking all the volunteers for their time and then shared a background of the middle school and the struggles it was facing in the past years. Earl Dade ranked 32 out of 32 overall (academically) of middle schools in the DISD and teacher/staff turnover rate was frequently rising. However with the help of local churches and organizations the school was able to overcome all of that three years ago. That was when Tracie made the call to action for volunteers as 150 of her students requested for a mentor.
Men from all different walks of life attended the breakfast to teach the young boys the importance of having a wiser male figure in their lives. From single young men to fathers in law enforcement, business, politics, etc., all of them came with the heart to serve these young boys in order to provide them a brighter future. Students had discussions with their mentors about their goals and aspirations and taught how to tie a tie. This enabled the boys to have a feeling of significance in their lives as most of them have no father figures to look up to.
“This turnout is a testament to show [what happens] when a school and a community come together,” Washington said.
After the session everyone gathered inside the gym for breakfast. This gave the mentors time to connect with each other and also extend some conversations with their mentees. At the end, Reverend Donald Ray Parish has everyone lock arms in a circle to pray for the middle school and the future of it's students. Parish prayed about how today was a miracle because no one expected such a great turnout. The school was afraid that only a handful of volunteers would show up, but the big man upstairs delivered with a plethora of servant hearted men. He closed the prayer by praising Jesus Christ and thanking him for all the men he brought in to help mentor the young boys.
The reactions were priceless according to a few of the volunteers who showed up. Dean McCurry who is a professional auctioneer taught the students how to auction just like a pro. “I live in North Dallas and I came here today to see what I can help with. These kids are smart and so enthusiastic,” McCurry said. “This is what Dallas needs.”
“They are great kids. You can’t let a ZIP code or part of the city define them. They’re so passionate,” stated Greg Mea, a Dade band teacher.
With such a successful turnout the school and DISD are planning more events with the local community for weekly and monthly mentorship opportunities.
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