While mom and child play groups abound, it can be challenging to find the same kind of support and friendship for dads. But dads in the northern suburbs can have opportunities to interact with their kids while meeting other families through the Me and My Dad program at the local Jewish Community Centers.
The Me and My Dad program brings together fathers and their children to participate in age-appropriate group settings.
"The program gave me an opportunity to spend time with each of my children at an individual time every month and develop a group of friends," says Wayne Silverman, who has participated in the program for 17 years with his four children. "It’s one of those things I wouldn’t have traded for anything."
Groups begin by meeting at each others’ homes once a month for about an hour. Dads and their kids are divided into groups of about 8-12 father and child units, grouped by age and gender. They determine a meeting schedule and each month’s "host" father and child plan an activity and provide a kosher snack. The groups also receive copies of the "Me and My Dad Survival Guide" and a craft box. JCC liaisons provide suggestions and program ideas, guidance and assistance at meetings.
The groups plan outings, play sports, celebrate Jewish holidays, create craft projects and go on overnighters. They also emphasize the importance of tzedakah (doing good deeds), such as adopting a family in need during the holidays or playing Bingo with seniors at a retirement home.
Me and My Dad is for children in kindergarten through second grade and their fathers. Parents can select a group on their own or they can choose to be placed in a group that is geographically desirable and age appropriate. The cost is $153.47 or $112.27 for JCC members.
For more information, contact Debbie Meyer at email@example.com or (847) 955-7760.
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