Children from Miami-Dade County Elementary Schools were recently invited to write brief essays on “What Father’s Day Means To Me” in a contest sponsored by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation. Thirteen finalists were evaluated for originality and creativity by members of the Written Word Writers Group who recently collaborated in writing and publishing “Behind Our Eyes: Stories, Poems and Essays from Writers with Disabilities.”
Sanford Rosenthal, founder of Written Word, organized the group five years ago to help writers with disabilities network, learn from experts in the field, and support each other in pursuing their shared passion for writing.
“The childrens’ Father’s Day essays captured the important role dads play in their lives, including stories of grandfathers, uncles and others who have stepped in to help them succeed,” Rosenthal said.
Seth Eisenberg, President of PAIRS Foundation, said the idea for the writing contest came from experiences PAIRS had earlier this year with children, teachers and parents at Liberty City Elementary School in Miami. “Our work in the community helped us more fully appreciate the enormous challenges these youngsters and their parents face daily. We hoped the essay contest would be a chance to recognize the men who play a positive role in the lives of these extraordinary boys and girls.”
Each of the finalists will receive certificates for their participation. The winner will receive an iPod Touch, Second Place will receive a $100 Visa Gift Card, Third Place will receive Movie Tickets. The winners will be announced Sunday on The Fatherhood Channel.
Essays from the 13 Finalists are available online at http://pairs.com/fathersday. Readers are encouraged to share their comments on the essays via The Fatherhood Channel website.
Excerpts from the Finalists
“My Big Momma is so important in my life that no one could replace him,” writes Sydney, 10, of Sunset Park Elementary. “Father’s Day is my chance to celebrate Big Momma as the man who has been a father to me.”
“A Day with Dad,” Adrianna, 10, Liberty City Elementary, writes: “My Dad always told me all you have to do is show him by giving him a hug or telling him that you love him and to remember actions speak louder than words.”
“Funny Chicken,” LaDetra, 10, Liberty City Elementary School, writes: “When my Dad’s happy, I know that everything is fine. I like seeing my Dad happy because he’s my father and he should always be happy.”
“Thanking My Role Model,” Erika, 9, Liberty City Elementary, writes: “When my Dad has his big, giant hands around me cuddling me, I know I’m special to him too. My Dad is a gentleman. He really knows how to treat my mom in a good way.”
“Working Five Jobs,” Sherl, 10, Liberty City Elementary,writes: “When I think of my Dad, I think of the five jobs he works to take care of me. I think of a man who even when he really wants something, he’ll give it up for me.”
“Grandpa is My Dad,” Prisilla, 10, Kelsey L. Pharr Elementary School, writes: “The dad in my life is my grandpa. He is spontaneous, hilarious and has an awesome personality. Father’s Day means recognizing him for all his hard work and because he’s such an incredible person.”
“He’s My Dad,” Rozalyn, 10, Kelsey L. Pharr Elementary, writes: “When I am feeling down, my dad somehow knows. He comes to me and asks, ‘What’s wrong?’ Even when I say, ‘Nothing,’ he still knows. Then he’ll say, ‘You can tell me anything.’ It is a comfort to know that he cares.”
“My Tower of Love,” Isaac, 10, Kelsey L. Pharr Elementary School, writes: “My Dad is my tower of love, strength and security, so there is nothing I would rather do but to celebrate my Dad on Father’s Day!”
“An Awesome Dude!” is how Diamond, 9, Kelsey L. Pharr Elementary School, describes her father. “My dad is as caring as my mom. He takes time out to talk to me about my day and actually listens. He cares for me even when I am sick.”
“Everyday Should Be Father’s Day,” writes Makaylah, 10, Charles Drew Elementary School. “Since my father is the best father in the whole wide world, on Father’s Day weekend I go searching for the perfect present.”
“Light of My Life,” Ryan, 9, Ada Merritt K-8 Center, writes: “He is like a robot with all of the stuff he does for me. He is the nicest robot, but, it’s amazing because he is not a robot.”
“My Dad Does It All,” Jayson, 10, The Resource Room, writes: “Dad has a magical way of creating unforgettable father and son moments.”
“Honoring Special Men in My Life,” Zoe, 10, Sabal Palm Elementary, writes: “Father’s Day is a meaningful time to honor all of the special men in my life. My dad and uncle are the two most important in my life.”
The nonprofit PAIRS Foundation is one of the nation’s oldest relationship skills training organizations. In 2006, PAIRS received a multi-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, to deliver marriage/relationship education classes to adults and teenagers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties as part of the National Healthy Marriage Initiative. To date, more than 5,000 people have participated.