Official Launch Event at Metropolitan Library on Saturday, March 11th at 10am
Atlanta, GA—March 9, 2017–Fathers Incorporated, the leading national non-profit for the promotion of Responsible Fatherhood, launches Real Dads Read (www.realdadsread.org) initiative in Atlanta, GA. Real Dads Read is a project aimed at elementary and middle school aged children (K-8) and their fathers/male caregivers to encourage a love of reading, improve literacy skills and educational outcomes, and to strengthen bonds between fathers/caregivers and their children.
“While the overall project is designed to encourage all fathers to read to their children, there is a particular focus on Black and Latino fathers, particularly in low-income communities,” says Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director of Fathers Incorporated. “Reading is a fundamental skill. A child’s ability to read proficiently is a significant predictor of his or her school success, high school completion, and future economic stability. However, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, approximately 80% of low-income children will not achieve this crucial milestone. Our efforts to change this outcome starts by engaging barbershops and, eventually, creating Real Dads Read clubs in schools and churches in Atlanta and, then, nationwide,” continues Braswell. Currently Real Dads Read has implemented a pilot in Columbus, GA and is in talks to expand immediately to Louisville, KY, Jackson, MS and Queens, NY.
“It is important for us to begin in Atlanta because it is our home base, and, currently, the city ranks #12 on the Black Male Achievement Index for efforts serving Black Men and Boys. It is our goal to be #1 for both boys and girls. It starts with us engaging men and fathers in the education of our children,” says Braswell. “Fathers, particularly fathers of color, are often an overlooked resource for reading and education, but we know from research that reading is a great way for dads to develop a unique relationship with their children and to improve the quality and quantity of time they spend together.”
Real Dads Read is a two-generation approach to engaging and improving outcomes for both men and the children for which they are responsible. The initial phase concluded in February with a book drive across the city of Atlanta to establish literacy centers (libraries) in many of the 45 barbershops. Each location will institute a Real Dads Read club and library with, at minimum, a reading activity every second weekend of the month.
“Reading to and with your child is essential. It will not only imprint in your child’s mind the curiosity of learning and education, but it is the ultimate act of bonding and love between a parent and child,” said Dr. Jeff Gardere, “America’s Psychologist”.
The project will take two years to reach its full scope, which includes Real Dads Read clubs in beauty salons, schools, faith-based centers, libraries, community centers, etc. across the country. A curriculum is in development, along with activity guides, to assist in the implementation of the project. Further financial support is needed for several areas of program development.
Furthering Fathering is also a prime partner in providing direct service and resource support for fathers throughout the network of fathers impacted by Real Dads Read. “We can make a profound impact in our communities through Real Dads Read, but we cannot do it by ourselves,” states Lamont Jones, Executive Director of Furthering Fathering.
The official Real Dads Real launch event is taking place at the Metropolitan Library in Atlanta from 10am – Noon. Special remarks, activities, giveaways and “celebrity reading” by K.D. Bowe of Praise 105.2.
Please contact Fathers Incorporated and Furthering Fathering for more information at 770.804.9800, firstname.lastname@example.org or via our website at http://www.realdadsread.org. You can also support the efforts of Real Dads Read by donating to the development of our program implementation, materials, and operating expenses via our GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/realdadsread
 See Campaign for Black Male Achievement Index at cityindex.blackmaleachievement.org
 Atlanta Real Dads Read book drive locations: Frequently updated list at http://www.realdadsread.org