New York City Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong, New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks, elected officials and more than a hundred students and their dads and father figures participated in the eighth annual Dads Take Your Child to School celebration in Brooklyn. The morning featured dads walking their kids from University Settlement’s Ingersoll Cornerstone Community Center to the Fort Greene Preparatory Academy at P.S. 46 Edward C. Blum School, JHS 265 Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts, PS 67 Charles A. Dorsey School and P.S. 20 Clinton Hill School. Steven Maisonet was honored with the Dads Making a Difference Award.

“One of the most important roles parents can play in their child’s development is that of role model,” said Chong. “When I was growing up, my father didn’t have as much time to spend with me as he wanted, but he always made sure that he led by example and gave me the encouragement and support I needed to become a successful adult. I encourage all parents to be there for their kids, not only on Dads Take Your Child to School Day, but every day of the year.”

“I am proud to join fathers and father figures in celebrating Dads Take Your Child to School Day,” said Banks. “This event helps remind us that involved fathers can make invaluable contributions to the lives of their children, bringing them benefits that last their whole lives. It gives fathers and father figures across the city a chance to spend valuable time with their children and to strengthen their bonds with the teachers, school administrators, Head Start centers and community organizations that serve them.”

“As commissioner of Children’s Services, I have witnessed firsthand the importance of active and supportive fathers,” said New York City Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Gladys Carrion. “I am especially proud of the work our agency has done this year in collaboration with community organizations, New York City agency partners and elected officials to mobilize community leaders, schools and early childhood providers to promote father engagement and the Fatherhood Initiative.”

“Parents and families are our partners in educating our children, and I am eager for every opportunity to include them in our schools, like Dads Take Your Child to School Day,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina. “Dads and father figures play a critical role in our schools and in our young people’s lives, and I hope today’s celebration serves to highlight the amazing work our dads are doing. As the school year progresses, I encourage dads father figures, and all family members to become even more involved—our children thrive with support in the classroom and at home, and fellow educators and I need their involvement and feedback to understand and meet the whole needs of all of our students.”

“The annual Dads Take Your Child to School Celebration is a wonderful initiative that highlights the importance and value of fathers in the overall development of our youth,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, chair of the Women’s Issues Committee. “It is vital that we continue to provide parents and families with the necessary support and resources to ensure the success of our youth.”

A project of the New York Office of Children and Family Services and the New York Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, Dads Take Your Child to School is New York’s response to the “Million Father March” events now held at now more than 700 locations across the country. In 2013, more than 450 sites—most of them in New York City—and more than 10,000 dads participated statewide.

“Nationwide, Dads Take Your Child to School is a wonderful opportunity to focus on the importance of fathers being actively engaged in their children’s education,” said Joyce A. Thomas, regional administrator for the Administration for Children and Families, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Dads play a vital role in a child’s life and are often their children’s first role models,” said Sheila J. Poole, New York Office of Children and Family Services acting commissioner. “Being an active father not only reaps tremendous benefits for the child but also gives fathers self-confidence about their role as parents. Bringing their children to school is an important step for fathers to take toward building a lifelong bond, and teaches children that they are loved, cared for and supported by one of the most important people in their lives.”

“Research shows that children of fathers who visit their classrooms and meet their teachers do better in school compared to their peers, whose mothers are the only involved parent,” said Kristin M. Proud, New York Office of Temporary Disability Assistance commissioner.

“As a settlement house, it is our mission to support and strengthen communities, and that starts by supporting and strengthening families,” said Melissa Aase, University Settlement executive director. “Today, together with our amazing partners, we reinforce the message that strong bonds lead to great success. The more we can do together to provide parents—both mothers and fathers—with the tools they need to build and strengthen those bonds, the better for everyone.”

“We are honored to have been chosen as the site for this event for the third year in a row,” said Tameeka Ford Norville, University Settlement program director. “Seeing so many dads come out once again to take their sons and daughters to school, and seeing the support that comes from the city and from organizations like Scholastic, Modell’s and Healthfirst truly shows how important this is to all neighborhood stakeholders. We are very proud to be considered a resource and a hub for this community.”

Supporting this year’s event are Scholastic, which donated 5,000 books to promote literacy; Healthfirst, which provided the breakfast and promoted healthy families and health insurance access for family members; and Modell’s, which has generously issued a 15 percent off coupon for participating dads and kids at any Modell’s in New York through Oct. 10.

“We are proud to support this special day presented by DYCD for fathers to take an active role in their children’s lives and encourage continuous parent engagement,” said George Hulse, Healthfirst VP of external affairs. “Family involvement and connection with their children fosters youth with a supportive and healthy developmental environment for learning and overall success.”

“The importance of dads and father figures in a young child’s life cannot be stressed enough,” said Greg Hambric, Modell’s Sporting Goods regional recruiter. “The guidance of a parent and a positive male role model in a child’s life help their overall development from a very early age, and taking them to school and being involved in their education is a huge component. Modell’s is happy to continue their support of this great initiative to highlight the efforts of fathers in the community who are making a difference in their child’s life.”

DYCD participates in the campaign through multiple programs and initiatives, including the Fatherhood, Beacon, Cornerstone, Immigrant Families, NDA Youth and COMPASS after-school programs. The event recognizes DYCD’s commitment to parent engagement across its funded programs and initiatives, and supports DYCD’s Fatherhood Initiative, which helps noncustodial fathers reconnect with their children and actively participate in their lives, both emotionally and financially.

Studies have shown that children with involved fathers and parents are less likely to get into trouble at home, school or in the neighborhood, and that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills for infants, greater patience for toddlers and intellectual functioning and academic achievement among adolescents.