by Kelly Rogge
Celebrating positive male role models was at the center of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 18th annual Father’s Day Luncheon earlier this week.
The event, sponsored by the KCKCC Campus Childcare Center, was June 16 in Lower Jewell.
In addition to a presentation by keynote speaker Jonathan Long, dean of student services at KCKCC, there was a performance by the Stone Lion Puppet Theatre. The Kansas City-based group uses marionettes, masks, shadow and rod puppets to bring classic stories to life. Stone Lion tours throughout the Midwest and the United States and is also a Smithsonian Institute touring performer as well as on the rosters for the Missouri Arts Council and the Kansas City Young Audiences organization.
“The luncheon is a day to celebrate and show appreciation to the fathers and other male role models at the center,” said Doris Holleman, director of the Campus Childcare Center at KCKCC. “We began the tradition of hosting a Father’s Day Luncheon 18 years ago when I began my tenure as director.”
Long spoke about the effect his father had upon his life and the importance of fatherhood. He said it is important to create a partnership between parents so that the family is “healthy and well-adjusted family.”
“Children sometimes see fathers as their hero and sometimes as a zero,” he said.
Kayleigh Dusil, Vandoran Huston and Kristopher Simmonds, students in the school-age program, read books on several topics to those in attendance. The entire school-age class sang “America the Beautiful” as Jah’Lil Drew played the saxophone. Drew, a fellow school-age student, also played “Wade in the Water” on the saxophone.
Another speaker at the event was Rhonda Erpelding, of the American Heart Association and Nemours. She spoke about the partnership between the AHA and the Campus Child Care Center, focusing on the steps the center has taken toward providing healthier meals and more physical activity. These initiatives include removing pre-fried foods from the menu, increasing the availability and appeal of water and reducing screen time for children.
Wrapping up the event were comments and a musical solo from Shawn Derritt, director of the Advising Center at KCKCC and a slide show of the children and their activities. A presentation of gifts to the fathers in attendance was then made.
“It is important to host these types of events each year because it shows the community that our college and childcare center values cultural and personal diversity of our male students and other men residing in our local community,” Holleman said. “Furthermore, Father’s Day specifically, can be an encouragement to our men to be active in the lives of their children. The children have the unique experience of having contact with other men on our campus who are positive role models for their future growth and personal development.”