Press Release Men's Forum Steering Committee Ava Fullenweider, Principal
Lecounte Teele, Assistant Principal
Kenneth K. Paulin , Chairman
October 28, 2009
Men of Bronx Elementary School Mobilize to Support Neighborhood Education Efforts
BRONX, NY - On Friday, June 5, 2009, the PS l l l/Men's Forum co-hosted their school's fifth annual Father and Son 's Breakfast at the Eastwood Manor in the Baychester area of the Bronx, NY. The breakfast featured a panel of community and educational leaders. Each presented his views on the critical--but often unfulfilled--role that fathers and other responsible males of the community are called to play in educating the community's youth . The breakfast theme was appropriately entitled: It Takes a United Village to Raise a Child! The establishment of the Men's Forum grew out of a challenge to the male staff members of PS III by the then assistant principal, Ava Fullenwieder. For four consecutive years (2005 through 2008) FulLenweider and then Principal Rivers-Jones (retired June 2009) organized the school community to formally recognize and celebrate the positive contributions that many of the fathers were making in the lives ofthe PS 111 students. It was Fullenweider's belief that going forward it wou ld be more meaningful and appropriate for responsible men of the community to affirm the positive efforts of other men. A group of male faculty members volunteered to assist, inspired by the historic presidential candidacy of Barack Obama and his declaration that parents needed to become more involved in the education of their children. They worked with Ms. Fullenweider to launch a new venture: The PS Ill/Men's Forum. This organization would focus on developing strategies to encourage the engagement of fathers and other responsible men from the community in the educational training oftheir PS I I I students. On Monday, March 30, 2009 , Mr. Kenneth Paulin, a Grade 5 Math Teacher and Chairman of the Men's Forum initiative, coordinated a night out for fathers and sons to a New Jersey Nets Basketball Game at the Meadowlands' Izod Center. Mr. Paulin was supported by a team of male faculty members. They accompanied approximately thirty fathers and other adult male role models to the game with their students . Each adult in attendance had to sponsor and chaperone a male student. According to Paulin, "The event ran like clockwork and allowed the men of our community to demonstrate the unique role they can playas caretakers for our children." The school, the Men's Forum, and the students were recognized over the arena's public address system during half-time festivities for their presence at the game by the New Jersey Nets basketball organization. Note: The Men's Forum is looking to follow this activity with similar ones in the months ahead. Interested parties may forward all appropriate activityideas via e-mail to Kenneth Paulin, Chairman. The Forum, in addition, has initiated a book-readingand discussion groups for interestedmen to explore relevant issues with their peers. For the fall semesterthe Forum members have selected the followingmaterial for its reading and discussion: Hill Harper, Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny (USA: Penguin Group, 2006).
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October 28, 2009
The Men' s Forum is seek ing to be part of a larger national moveme nt spearheaded by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, under the leadership of Joshua Dubois, a 26-yearÂ old minister and presidential appointee. As a former community-organizer, President Obama has called for this Whit e House office to make commun ity groups an integral part of the econo mic and social recovery from our country' s curren t financial crisis. The PS I l l/Men ' s Forum believes that the acquisition of a quality education is the strategy to equip future generations with the econo mic, social, intellectual, and environme ntal tools needed to transform their neighborhoods and, subsequently, the larger world around them for the betterment of all members of our national family. The Men ' s Forum members take the position that neighborho od schools have a key role to play in the tran sformation of the communi ty at both the local and national levels. Their effecti veness is dependent upon the support they can obtain from the parents, the neighbors, and the community serv ice profession als who interact with the children they teach. In this regard, President Obama has demon strated that he is a father, grass-roots organ izer, and a natio nal leader committed to social change. He has given men-sand fathers in particu lar-sa distinctive role and mission toward which they mignt aspire. It is a role that the Men ' s Forum members believe will unite and will focus all the members of their community to ensure that any young person seeking to be educated to the fullest of his or her potential shall be. In SY 2009 a volunteer committee of teachers, fathers , and other responsible men of the PS I I I school community proposed the following ideas and initiatives for implementation.
It is the mission of our Men's Forum to engage the men of our community in a leadership effort to ensure that each child of our community is poised to take full advantage of our democracy's most transformational asset: A Quality Public Education.
Toward realizin g that goal we shall seek to accompli sh the following tasks : 1. Establish our Men's Forum as an integrated but self-sustaining resource group for the families and children served by our local public schools. 2. Establish a definitive role that men might playas information gatherers, resource sharers, and problem solvers regarding issues that present possible barriers to the full enfranchisement of their children as life-long learners and future leaders of their community. 3. Establish National Father's Day (the Third Sunday in June) as the time for the annual re-dedication of our PS 111/Men's Forum membership toward the transformation and renewal of community through educational initiatives involving fathers and their children.