HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT)-A nationwide initiative known as the Million Father March returned today for some of the students in the EVSC.

The Million Father March is back, inviting dads, uncles, grandfathers, mentors, and clergy to show their commitment to educating the youth. Initiative leaders say having a father figure welcome students back to the classroom is a great way to show they’re supported.

The Evansville Commission on the Social Status of African American Males, the Southern Indiana Mentoring Academy, and Bread of Life Kingdom ministries welcomed students back to Lincoln Elementary, Glenwood Leadership Academy, and Lodge Community School.

Melissa Moore of the Evansville Commission on the Social Status of African American Males talked about the importance of father figures. 

“I think a lot of times men, especially fathers, are not given that big shoutout, congratulations, if you will, for continuing to hang in there, being there in their child’s life on a consistent basis.”

Representatives from the Southern Indiana Mentoring Academy are working toward a bigger goal with the students, especially at Lincoln Elementary. They are continuing to implement the early learning program at Lincoln, where their hope is for students to grow as readers.

Ted McCready of the Southern Indiana Mentoring Academy talked about the early learning program.

“Just to see the joy and smiles, you know that’s our gratification. Hopefully, when those kids move to the first, second, and third grades, we move with them, and the mentors will move with them, and we’re hoping that by the third grade, those kids will be reading hopefully on the sixth- or seventh-grade level.”

Officials such as Melissa Moore say children have better grades and are more active in school when father figures are present in their lives.

 “I think a lot of times when we hear in the news about a father, it’s something negative, something not good that we want to hear, but what better way to rally around our men in the community, rally around our fathers, whether it be step-fathers, uncles, or grandfathers standing in as a father figure to rally around them, show them that this is what community looks like, especially on the very first full day of school.”