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Midvale Journal

Copperview Inaugural Program Involves Dads

May 02, 2016 10:00PM ● By Julie Slama

Copperview Elementary’s All Pro Dads program brings fathers and students together once each month at school. (Shawn Walker/Copperview Elementary School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Every month, fourth-grader Nate Hallum looks forward to having breakfast with his dad at school.

“I like to spend time with Dad because I barely get to see him,” Nate said. “He leaves for work while I’m getting ready for school. Sometimes, though, we get to play board games and watch a movie in the evening.”

This year, Copperview Elementary introduced the national All-Pro Dads program after assistant principal Shawn Walker learned about it at a conference. As the school provides breakfast, dads and their kids go through a 45-minute lesson based around a theme such as thankfulness, bravery and putting others first. Attendance at the program varies, but it has attracted upward of 65 dads some months.

“It’s a program that helps dads establish a positive relationship with their children and to have fun with them,” Walker said. “Some of the dads haven’t had strong male role models so this helps them learn to become more positive and others work so hard to provide for their families, they haven’t had time to be involved in their kids’ lives at school. This gives them the opportunity to do so.”

Often the conversations can be dads sharing an experience they had in school that relates to the theme, such as a time when they were scared and needed to be brave. Communication is key in the program, he said.

“We started with the dads introducing themselves and their children and saying why they are proud of them. It was heartwarming to hear what was said and it was great for the kids to be able to hear it from their dad,” he said.

The program is run by Nate’s dad, Daniel Hallum, who also has kindergartner, Cassie, who attends the school.

“My dad tells me he’s proud of me when I do school really good,” she said. “He likes it when I clean my room and help my sister McKenzie get her stuff from school to work on. She’s on crutches so it’s easier for me to get it for her. I like going to school early and hanging out with my dad. I learned he used to ride a skateboard.”

Hallum said he looked into the program after learning about it from Walker.

“I thought it was a great idea since it instills some things that are missing in this generation,” he said. “It’s created from a dad’s point of view and it gets dads back involved with their children and in the schools.”

With a recent lesson, not only did they discuss being brave, but also how to overcome peer pressure to stand up to do something right, he said.

“Then, the lessons suggest an activity that you can do on your own with your children to reinforce what was discussed. We’re thinking of going rock wall climbing at Dimple Dell. It’s an activity we don’t regularly do, but it makes us step out of the familiar to be brave and have fun together,” he said.

In December, they thought about others before themselves. Hallum encouraged his kids to think of others not as fortunate so they went through toys at their home. In addition to donating some they no longer played with, he encouraged them to contribute ones they liked.

“I wanted them to realize those kids may like the same ones they do and if they gave ones they still cared about, then it would mean something more,” he said.

Nate remembered that.

“We gave some church members things that they needed which we had. I gave away some of my favorite things so they could become their favorites, too,” he said.

Another activity involved friendship and his kids learned that when they invited friends over, they would do an activity their friend liked instead of what they wanted to do.

“The program gives us all lessons on values and discussion topics that build our relationships. It’s fun and beneficial to come together and share,” he said.