Spending the day with dad

WARREN – Local children spent an afternoon of fun and educational activities with their fathers and other male figures in their lives as part of the ”Day out with Dad,” held at the Alliance Community Outreach Program center.

Melvin Harris, relationship specialist with Mercy Health Care program, said dads are just as an important part of the family as moms.

“We celebrate moms and dads. We hold a community baby shower in the spring and fall where we recognize new life and mothers. Today we are recognizing and celebrating fathers,” Harris said.

He said the three-hour event, which included lunch, informational displays on health issues, local community organizations, health screenings, an obstacle course, and children’s games and activities was sponsored by United Healthcare Community Plan, the Trumbull County Fatherhood Initiative, Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, and Trumbull County Children Services.

Other activities included a Warren Police Department K-9 unit demonstration and healthy snack preparations by the Ohio State University Extension office.

”It was a day to get children out with their dads and celebrate,” Harris said.

Darnell Cockerham of Warren and his son Alonte Miller, 6, said it was a fun event where participants could win raffle prizes.

”I liked the basketball games and having fun outside,” Alonte said.

Harris said the ”Day out with Dad” welcomed all father figures and male role models and mentors to accompany children to the event.

”This let participants be in contact with health experts and community resources,” he said.

Event organizers said numerous studies indicate involved fathers and male role models can play a crucial role particularly in the cognitive, behavioral and general health and well-being areas of a child’s life.

Collaboration Station, which is a nonprofit organization, started the Trumbull County Fatherhood Initiative in Warren in 2011 which hosted such events as ”Take Your Child to School Day,” ”Be Well Fit” health program, and child support assistance programs.

Event organizers said the day’s event and others held throughout the year was to provide resources and information to meet the needs of fathers and father figures in ways that will have a positive impact on children’s lives.

The TCFI aims to engage the community in supporting and implementing fatherhood activities across the county to help both custodial and non-custodial fathers to positively impact their children’s lives .