(RNN) – They needed 50, but somewhere around 600 showed up.
Billy Earl Dade Middle School, a Dallas institution with a troubled past and a largely low-income student population, put out the call last month for men to take part in their “Breakfast With Dads” event, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Organizers were afraid that there wouldn’t be enough male role models for the 150 boys who had signed up. They didn’t want anyone left out.
Dade MS needs Males! Please share and text 214-284-1589 to confirm your participation and receive more info! pic.twitter.com/yDVcAybnVg— Kristina Chäadé Dove???? (@KristinaCDove) December 4, 2017
Word spread and the guest list grew. The response from potential mentors was so overwhelming that the event had to be moved from the cafeteria to the gym.
Their backgrounds were diverse and so were their skills. They came from all over the Dallas area.
“I will never forget witnessing the young students surrounded by supportive community members,” said Stephanie Drenka, a photographer who took pictures at the event.
“There were so many volunteers, that at times I saw young men huddled in the center of 4-5 mentors,” she said. “The look of awe - even disbelief - in students’ eyes as they made their way through the crowd of ‘Dads’ was astonishing.”
Words cannot describe the impact mentoring youth can have on both you and your mentee. Powerful to see a community of fellow men and fathers come together to wrap their arms around or young men. Thank you for having me out. pic.twitter.com/2fTicFpzws— Jason Rodriguez (@DISDPD_AChiefJR) December 14, 2017
Less than five years ago, Dade Middle School was one of the worst-performing middle schools in the district, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The school has reached out to local churches and organizations to build community support. It also received extra support from the Dallas Independent School District.
The school expects to continue community involvement events like “Breakfast With Dads” and it may expand throughout the district.
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