Fatherhood initiative empowers men across Newark, strengthens families, and improves educational outcomes for children.
[Newark, NJ - December 20, 2016] Over one hundred community members and five organizations from across the City of Newark participated in The D.A.D. Network’s “Dads Care Toy Drive” from December 7 through the 16. The holiday toy drive, which was organized by The D.A.D. Network, a fatherhood initiative implemented through the Newark Public Schools (NPS) Head Start Program, consisted of a week-long gift collection, a gift wrapping party, and a gift distribution event. The gifts donated were for children ages 0-16.
“‘The Dads Care Toy Drive’ has been an excellent opportunity for Newark fathers, families, educators, community leaders, and organizations to come together to collectively brighten the holiday season for hundreds of children and families across our city,” said Christopher D. Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. “The D.A.D. Network understands the critical role fathers play in a child’s educational journey, and I applaud these role models for everything they are doing to make Newark a stronger community.”
The holiday toy drive took place at several NPS Head Start locations throughout Newark Public Schools. Fathers, male role models, parents/caregivers, NPS Staff, community members, and organizations were encouraged to donate one or more gifts for sick and homeless children living in Newark.
On Thursday, December 15, over 60 community members participated in an afternoon gift wrapping party at ‘Early Childhood School – South’ in Newark’s South Ward, and the gifts were then delivered to over 300 children across the city on Friday, December 16 and Monday, December 19. Deliveries were made to multiple sites, including: University Hospital, The Harmony House, and Beth Israel Hospital.
Community partner Wells Fargo Bank donated nearly 100 gifts and actively participated at the gift wrapping party and the toy distribution event. One Wells Fargo Bank customer was so thrilled with the collaboration that they personally donated $100 to support the effort.
“We are so thankful for all of the dedicated fathers who created this initiative and continued with it for another year in an even bigger way,” noted F. Nana Ofosu-Amaah, Executive Director of Newark’s Office of Early Childhood. “Particularly in the earliest stages of development, parents are such an integral component of their children’s success. We are excited to be able to support so many great fathers during this toy drive, and hope that our collective efforts will make the holidays a little brighter for a few Newark children.”
Established in 2015, the mission of The D.A.D. Network (Dads Are Dynamic) is to engage, empower, achieve, and promote excellence amongst men, families, schools, and communities across the City of Newark.