In 2015, I started attending community programs on Saturday mornings at the Library with my two children, Sawyer and Wallace. We were exposed to new books, authors, toys, and a better understanding of different types of play kids can experience to aid their development. I noticed right away that Sawyer and Wallace were improving their social and emotional development. Equally important, they were having fun.
I was having fun, too. Saturday mornings at the Library became our thing. We would have a big breakfast, pack diapers and what we needed and made a day of it. We met kids, parents, facilitators and it was their kindness that made me feel so welcome in the community. It was so great for parents to connect and meet role models, read new books and understand new concepts. Participating in various programs, the facilitators taught me a variety of parenting tools like the Ages and Stages Questionnaire which has enriched our lives and strengthened our family.
A couple years ago, the program facilitators reached out to me and said, “we’ve noticed that you’re pretty engaged with your kids and the community, do you want to do a little more?” and we discussed opportunities where I could get more involved. We started developing programs that are planned, developed, and delivered by volunteer dads, for dads and their kids with the support of the Family Resource Network.
Two years and one pandemic into it, we are still going strong! We have met hundreds of dads and kids: teaching and learning about kindness, role modelling, networking, resources in the community, all while having a lot of fun. I like seeing my kids interacting with others and I enjoy being a part of things, building the program and facilitating them. This was an opportunity where I could give more and get more out of my experiences in the community.
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many awesome dads and kids over the years and I have learned so much from them over this time. I’m also grateful for all the hardworking folks in this community that have supported programs for families. The energy and connection between the kids, parents and facilitators is what makes this community special.
If you would like to participate in “How Do You Dad?” or learn more about events and resources for dads in the community, please contact Strathcona County Family Resource Network at firstname.lastname@example.org.