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Men Support Preschoolers, and Each Other, in SuperMEN Program

Research suggests that the more a father or other positive male role model is involved in a child’s life, the more successful that child will be. They will behave better at school and home, get higher grades and place more value on their education.

Kalamazoo RESA Head Start encourages men to take an active role in their preschoolers’ education through its SuperMEN program. The initiative focuses on male engagement and networking, bringing together dads, stepdads, uncles, brothers and other male role models in preschoolers’ lives.

“Not every child has a father in the household,” said program leader and Head Start family advocate Michael Childress. “A superman can be any male figure in a kid’s life. We want to help them get involved.”

Childress hosts a SuperMEN event about once a month. The meetings are currently virtual due to COVID, but he hopes they can meet in person again soon. A typical meeting includes dinner, some type of activity for the men and their children to do together, and then a time for the men to talk.

“We might talk about mistakes, so others don’t make the same mistake,” Childress said. “Or we talk about successes and learn from each other. We have guest speakers come in to talk about other topics like men’s health, budgeting, home ownership or co-parenting.”

Childress, who has been a family advocate for 13 years, hopes to encourage more men to get involved. “When dad or another male figure shows up, the kids light up,” he said. “We want two parents chipping in.”

The next SuperMEN meeting is Thursday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. For more information, visit KRESA Head Start on Facebook or contact your child’s family advocate.