June 09, 2014
Did you know that Father’s Day was started at the YMCA? Over a century ago, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd aspired to create a holiday to honor fathers. Dodd, the daughter of a single father and Civil War veteran, was inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon and wondered why there was no holiday for fathers. After securing support from ministers in Spokane, Washington, her idea came to fruition with the first Father’s Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.
On Sunday, June 15, the YMCA of Metro Chicago joins the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the impact fathers and adult male role models make in children’s lives. Nationally, one out of three children lives in a home without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And, societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect fathers’ ability to seek support in strengthening their parenting skills and more fully engaging in the lives of their children. A leading nonprofit in fostering positive youth development, the Y remains dedicated to providing resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children.
Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence and exhibit less depression, perform better academically and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use.
The YMCA of Metro Chicago offers a variety of programs that foster understanding and companionship between children and their caregivers such as Family Nights, family fitness activities, Adventure Guides and Princesses, and special events throughout the year. In communities across the country, the Y is committed to ensuring that the 9 million children and teens in YMCA programs reach their full potential by helping them grow—physically, mentally and socially—from young children into active, engaged members of their communities. To learn more about programs and activities available at the YMCA Metro Chicago centers, visit ymcachicago.org.