More than a century ago, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd aspired to create a holiday to honor fathers. The daughter of a single father and Civil War veteran was inspired by a Mother's Day sermon and wondered why there was no holiday for fathers. After securing support from ministers in Spokane, Wash., her idea came to fruition with the first Father's Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.
On Sunday, June 16, the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA joins the nation in celebrating Father's Day and recognizing the impact fathers and adult male role models make in children's lives. Nationally, one out of three children lives in a home without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And, societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect fathers' ability to seek support in strengthening their parenting skills and more fully engaging in the lives of their children. The Y remains dedicated to providing resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children.
"As a nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y believes that strong family bonds are a foundation of strong communities, and we work to help all families to learn, grow and thrive," CEO Jenny Holweger said. "Today, Father's Day reminds us why it's important to recognize fathers and provide them with the support they need to be the best parents and caregivers they can be."
Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence and exhibit less depression, perform better academically and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use.
To learn more about programs and activities available at the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA, please contact me at 455-9999 or visit www.ymcaswmo.org.
Sarah Sonis is program director for the Freeman Southwest Family YMCA.