It takes a village to raise a child. I hear that often and know it is true. In order to develop the next generation of leaders, adults must inspire and motivate our youth to explore, learn, and conquer the world. We hear how important mothers are, and fathers are just as vital to the family unit.

Whether you are a dad, step-dad, adoptive father, or a father figure, your contributions are appreciated and more importantly, greatly needed. Father’s Day, celebrated this year on June 21, 2020, is your day to feel special and valued for all you do for your children and your family.

One of the first Father’s Day celebrations was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. She wanted to honor her father who was a single parent raising six children. Many adults face similar challenges when raising their children. Some families have only one parent. Some have two parents, but often both parents work outside of the home. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents often support youth when work and life obligations intersect.

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Parenting is hard. We all know it. From providing the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, parents, and dads, must do so much more.  Dads are cheerleaders for their kids, who often need the encouragement to meet life’s challenges. Dads are also educators, helping tackle homework, and in these past few months, helping their children manage distance learning.

Dads also coach sports and volunteer at school, extracurricular activities, and clubs. As the CEO of a youth organization dedicated to girls, I see many dads give their time and talent to support their daughters in their goal to learn about the world around and try new things. Dads and father figures also foster confidence, self-esteem, values, sense of self, and work ethics. They also help encourage the youth in their lives to take on responsibilities, calculated risks, and look for new adventures.

I know my dad helped shape who I am today, and I am forever grateful for all he taught me about life. Volunteerism was a big part of my dad’s life and I am thankful he introduced me to how good it feels to be part of something bigger than one’s self.

Hats off to all of our dads and the men who step up and step in to contribute great things to our families and communities. Happy Father’s Day!