Rock Island Academy hosts ‘The Million Father March’
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) -The Rock Island Academy hosted The Million Father March Friday, an event where men from the community join students to start their day.
Fathers, uncles, and grandfathers along with other men from the Rock Island community lined up along the entrance steps of the elementary school and greeted each student as they entered the building.
Rock Island Academy said it started the annual march eight years ago and is the only school in the Quad City area that holds the event.
Members of the police and fire departments were there Friday morning, alongside soldiers from the Arsenal and area football players at the high school and college level.
Sergant Marshall Glover Jr. grew up in Rock Island and this annual event is a powerful way to encourage the students.
“The kids need to see that there are individuals out here who may not be directly connected to their bloodline,” said Glover Jr. “But who care about them, who wants to love on them, who wants to support them, who wants to see them doing well, who can take you know, 20-30 minutes of their day, in the morning to give a high five, to give a hug, to give a fist bump and say you know what, ‘have a good day. I’m here to help you have a good day.’”
They came up with the idea because their school doesn’t have a lot of male participants and role models and felt the march would be a way to show students they have support.
Amber Grant, who is the organizer of the march and a paraprofessional for Rock Island Academy says the experience is indescribable and many students talk about it years later.
“It’s something you have to experience I can’t tell you how it feels because when you experience it in person, it’s a whole different thing. People have tears in their eyes, parents stop, get out of their cars. They record it like they absolutely think it’s amazing and you just have to experience it to understand the feeling of it,” said Grant.
As each student is cheered on as they are walking in, they are met with a fist bump, a handshake, or just something to make the student feel welcomed. Grant says the impact is what makes the difference.
“The kids need this. They come for stability, they come from comfort, they come for love. They come from that but we give them extra, it’s a different little family unit down here and we do whatever is necessary for our students and this is necessary for our students,” said Grant.
While Rock Island Academy is the only school holding the event in the Quad Cities, over 100 other school districts and organizations between 31 states hold their versions of the Million Father March according to fathersincorporated.com.
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