by Lisa Tome
Adam Streight feels he already had a good relationship with his daughter, fifth grader, Keira.
But Streight and his daughter have now made it a priority to have breakfast together every other month before school at Bay View Elementary. They have been participating in the All Pro Dad program offered free at the school.
"I come every time they have it. We actually learned to talk now. It hammers home that that is important," said Streight who is a father of three. "It's never hard to find time with your kids.
"It gives us good activities to do," said Keira Streight.
The pair are just some of the families who are participating in the alternating month programs All Pro Dad and iMom. Bay View guidance counselor Amanda Edge leads the programs. Last week was the final All Pro Dad of the school year. "This program provides kids and families with time to talk about topics they don't normally talk about," said Edge. Some of those topics include gratitude, giving back to the community, positive motivation and more.
The only requirement is that parents and children sign up and arrive at school about an hour earlier than normal. The school supplies breakfast. "I actually get more dads than moms. We get as many as 50 and sometimes it's not dads, it's a dad figure," said Edge.
"We have a step dad who comes every single time. Parents are busy. They have multiple kids in sports. This provides undivided attention for the little ones,” added Edge.
Edge also assigns "homework". There are activities where parents are asked to put notes in the lunchboxes they pack for their children. Another recent assignment was 10 second hugs for everyone in the family.
Eric Ramadan was out at the All Pro Dad with his children Ryan and Ragan. "I take them to school every morning. But this is a treat - breakfast. I love it," said Ramadan, who also values the lessons learned.
Dan Shepherd brings his third grade twins to All Pro Dad. "We look forward to it. It's us time. We chit chat about stuff we normally don't talk about and I meet their friends," said Shepherd. "This has created better conversations at home. We remember what we learned here. It's made us tight."
Sam Forrester attended All Pro Dad with his niece, a kindergarten student. "I think it's important to get her on the right track. I want to be a good influence," said Forrester.
Kevin Wilson brought his son, Briar to the event before heading to his job with the Maryland Transportation Authority. "It builds a strong bond with your kid," said Wilson.
Edgar Saeger attends with fourth grader Liam. "We've been coming for a few years. It has helped us. We've got a long way to go and getting up early is tough. The program is very good," said Saeger.
Edge said that she has learned a lot teaching these parent/student programs. "I do feel like the moms are more chatty here. The dads are a little more compliant," said Edge. Those who attend iMom and All Pro Dad also have a chance to win door prizes.
"Part of our job as counselors is to get more parents involvement and get more parents in the school," she said. All Pro Dad and iMom are pre-planned curriculum programs provided at Bay View through Title I funds.