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Lovonya DeJean Middle School will take part in the Million Father March, a national effort that could be the nation’s largest organized back-to-school initiative.

The event will take place on Aug. 22, when men are encouraged to take children to the first day of school after the summer break. The men can include fathers, grandfathers, foster fathers, stepfathers, uncles, cousins, big brothers, male caregivers or family friends.

School begins at 8:30 am and the Million Father March program will begin at 8:45 am.

The school is asking employers to give fathers and men two hours off, with pay, in order to participate. Men will also be encouraged to volunteer at school throughout the year.

The Million Father March is being sponsored by The Black Star Project, U.S.A. and aims to take place in nearly 700 U.S. cities. Last year, an estimated 800,000 men in over 700 cities participated.

Children whose fathers take an active role in their educational lives earn better grades, score higher on tests, enjoy school more and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college, according to research cited by local officials.

“Additionally, children have fewer behavior problems when fathers listen to and talk with them regularly and are active in their lives,” program officials said.

“Better parents produce better communities, better schools, and better students with higher academic achievements,” said Phillip Jackson, executive director of The Black Star Project.

For information about Lovonya DeJean Middle School’s participation in this event, you may visit the school’s website at www.wccusd.net/dejean, email to wmcgee@wccusd.net or call 510-231-1430.