On Saturday August 15th Pathways hosted a father/ father figure and child bowling event. This event coincides with the NJ Department of Children and Families initiatives aimed at recognition of the importance of male role models and fathers in young people's lives. Many of the high school age youth who came to bowl were part of the summer program that is run by the Pathways School Based Youth Services Program. Over thirty people attended the event, and while there were many fathers in attendance, there were also several grandfathers, uncles, brothers and cousins.
When the youth and their father/father figure arrived at the bowling alley, they each took a turn in the photo booth we provided to create a momento of the day. They were then able to bowl unlimited games and were treated to a catered dinner and dessert. Not one person left before our reserved time elapsed.
The families had a wonderful time together and many voiced how much they appreciated the opportunity to do something so special. One young man came up to the staff and said that this was "the best day ever". A father said thank you to me, and added, "I want my son to know I am there for him, it is so important and things like this, let me show him." Watching the interactions between the youth and adults was heart warming; there was so much affection, laughter and encouragement. An unexpected bonus was the postive interactions between the families. Families who had never met before started out by sharing a lane and soon were sharing bowling advice, fist bumps and at the end handshakes. One of the Pathways staff members said it perfectly, "we are creating community here."