Leaders at a Dallas ISD middle school were worried turnout would be low again for its third annual Breakfast with Dads. So one staff member made a post on social media and the turnout was bigger than anyone had dared to hope for.
About 600 men answered the call last month at Billy Earl Dade Middle School. It was so many that the school is now launching a long-term mentorship program.
Alex Ramirez, 13, instantly hit it off with his new mentor -- DISD Assistant Police Chief Jason Rodriguez.
"My favorite police car in Dallas, the Crown Vic is alright,” Ramirez said.
Rodriguez is one of the 600 men who responded to the call for volunteers after two years of low turnouts at breakfast with dads at Dade M.S.
“When I walked in the room and saw the entire auditorium flooded with people who also decided to do something good, it was amazing,” Rodriguez said.
Principal Tracie Washington started the breakfast when she came to the struggling middle school three years ago. She said less than ten men have shown up in previous years.
With the post on social media, they were hoping to get 50 more. So 600 was not even in their wildest dreams. One man even drove two hours from Tyler. With so many mentors, it was easy for connections to be made.
“One of our students was diagnosed with cancer and the mentor had a sister diagnosed with cancer at the same age as his mentee. They instantly made a connection. One desiring to be an architect, was pared with an architect,”
A favorite moment of the event for many was when mentors started teaching young men how to tie ties.
“I used to do it the kid way, a clip on, but now I know the adult way, with a knot on it,” Ramirez said.
As for the men who came, Ramirez summed it up best.
"I want to say thank you for showing up."
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