“My Hero and Me,” an 8 week program that focuses on the relationship fathers or father-figures have with their children, is now in its second year at Lavelle Prep Elementary.
The program consists of 7 sessions where the fathers and their children participate in activities including art, science, and sports. All sessions, with the exception of the field trip, are held within a Lavelle Prep classroom, as by having the fathers come to the school, it shows their children how important being at school means to each family.
During the final week, participants celebrate with a Culmination Ceremony to acknowledge the fathers and children for their participation in the program.
My Hero and Me comes to Lavelle from the Staten Island Community Partnership Program (SICPP) where the Program Coordinator is Patricia Walton, who is a tremendous help in making sure the program runs as smooth as possible.
The program’s liaison at Lavelle, Pedro Gonzalez, has high hopes for the program as it experiences continued success. “My hopes are that with a large number of participants, the students and adults get to bond and form life-long memories. In the beginning of the program, the adults are a bit shy, but with each passing session they start to get to know each other and become friends. Last year at the end of the program when we had the Closing Ceremony, everyone was exchanging contact information and making plans to hang out outside of school. I hope that will continue this year and our Lavelle Prep Elementary Community keeps growing,” he says.
Perhaps the best part? The students are loving the experience, too. Gonzalez says, “The students love the program, they have been asking me about it since the beginning of the school year. I can tell the students really enjoy having their ‘Hero’ here at Lavelle Prep.” Gonzalez explains that while the first two sessions are just for the adults, throughout the school week every time he walks into a classroom, the students walk up to him a asking, ‘How was my Dad?’ ‘Was he good?’ ‘He said he liked it!’
Gonzalez is extremely passionate about the project and explains, “This program has become a family passion. My sister, Paola Silva, is involved in organizing the events and paperwork and this year my mother had volunteered to help out in setting up and cleaning after each session along with many of the Lavelle Prep Elementary staff who volunteer to lead and assists the workshops. We feel honored to be a part of this special program and witness how much the families are enjoying themselves.”
For a look into the initiative, enjoy this video montage from the 2016-2017 school year.