The first day of school can be tough. New teachers, new grade, new expectations. It’s normal to be nervous, especially when you’re in elementary school.
The men lined up along a red carpet to welcome kids back to school this year with smiles and…you guessed it, high fives as they walked into Allen M.Stearne Elementary in Philadelphia this September.
The men cheered the kids on, wished them luck, and even handed out some school supplies. It was all designed to start off the year on a high note.
But one student, Ian, was late for his first day – and to top it off he was new to the school.
As he walked up to the building he got overwhelmed and began to cry.
That’s when the dads really kicked it into high gear.
They approached Ian immediately and did everything they could to comfort him and try to start his new year off with a smile.
Putting their arms around him and pumping him up, they didn’t let his tears go unnoticed.
“When we see him crying, the innate nature in me was just go give him a hug, a lot of kids don’t get hugs in the morning,” volunteer Patrick Faulkner told Fox 29 Philadelphia.
The rest of the dads added “You got this” and “New year big things, man” as they tried to get Ian in the right frame of mind to walk into his new school.
That’s when founder and president of D.O.P.E. Jai Crabbe noticed the sweet moment and started recording on her cell phone
“It was one of the best moments I have ever experienced, it was just so genuine,” she said.
Now the video has been shared on the social media pages of multiple news outlets and watched millions of times in just a few weeks.
One dad even noticed that he and Ian were both wearing the same sneakers – Air Jordans. That was something that seemed to cheer the boy up.
And that dad said he thinks it all clicked for a reason:
“Personally, I feel like there was a reason for everything. There was a reason I wore them sneakers. There was a reason he came late…I believe in karma and good stuff like that.”
The dads managed to get a smile out of Ian after some big hugs and encouraging words. He wiped away his tears and headed into class with newfound confidence.
The dads even came back later that week to have lunch with Ian and his mom to make sure they were settling in and agreed to take him under their wings for the year.
Since the event was such a success, the two organizations are exploring other ways for dads to get more involved in area schools.
All of the men feel like they have a role to play in this underserved part of the city where many kids don’t have a dad at home and may not have any male role models at all.
These gentlemen certainly seem like the perfect choice for a kid searching for someone to look up to.
Be sure to scroll down below to see the sweet video and hear from one of the dads.
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