What a beautiful way to show the kids in your community that you care about them.
A large group of snazzily dressed men gathered outside a Connecticut public school on the first day of classes.
Nah, it wasn't time for parent-teacher conferences. And it wasn't an executive retreat that just happened to be walking by. This was a group gathering to cheer students on their first day of school.
DeVaughn Ward and Pastor AJ Johnson organized the event after seeing a group of men in Atlanta pull off a similar affair. They took to social media, and faster than you could say "What are you up to on the first day of school?" a group of upstanding gents from the community showed up to cheer on students at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Hartford, Connecticut.
“We have insurance executives. We have attorneys. We have TV producers. ... We have banking executives. We have nonprofit executives, law enforcement, firefighters, chefs," Ward told Eyewitness 3 in Hartford. "We wanted the youth to see us as professionals in whatever capacity that's in," he said. "We wanted to give them something to aspire to."
This array of professional gents greeted each student on their first day of school with a smile, a cheer, and a high five of encouragement.
“They need to know education matters. They need to know there are people there supporting them. Even if they don't know their names," Brian Martin, one of the event's participants, told Eyewitness 3.
And it wasn't just a few folks. Around 100 men came to cheer on the kids in their community.
They offered high fives to adorably confused, embarrassed, and happy children.
Sounds of "awww" were no doubt reported.
Little hands and big hands clapped! A first day of school high five for everyone!
The kind of welcome usually reserved for football stars was given to each and every child that day.
All the smiling faces and happy kids and bow ties! Is this a Norman Rockwell painting?
No! It's real!
Seriously, I'm jealous of these kids AND of all these awesome grown-ups.
What a beautiful way to show up for the kids in your community.
Literally show up. I love it so much.
Hearing about success is one thing. But seeing it is something completely different. And for kids going to their first day of school amid cheers from the most successful men in their community, seeing is believing.
After doing a little research about this awesome event in Connecticut, I started finding similar events happening all across the country.
That's right! This magical event is contagious! These folks from Connecticut were inspired by Atlanta ... but that is SO not where this magic stops!
In West Palm Beach, Florida:
In Omaha, Nebraska!
Some of these gatherings were independently organized, and some were a part of a movement called the Million Fathers March, which began in 2004 as a group of men committed to their children's academic success.
It's such a sweet way to bring a community together and make a great world for our kids. This is a great start.