Teens gathered in Oakwood Park to demonstrate their football skills.
Passages Ohio hosted a punt, pass and kick competition as an extension of a STEPS League of Extraordinary Fathers initiative.
Passages Ohio was founded over twenty years ago by Dr. Brian Moore founded.
The program was originally dedicated to the overlooked needs of low-income fathers, including those without custody and those who are incarcerated or re-entering society.
Passages grew to be the pre-eminent organization in northeast Ohio, serving all low-income parents and addressing the socio-economic and family issues they encounter.
Young people aged 7 to 12 presented their punt, pass and kicking skills in front of community members as well as semi-professional and professional soccer stars.
Organizer Randy Smith says while the event is geared towards teens, it is a safe and fun activity for dads to bond with their children.
“It’s a good parental leave,” he said. “When fathers have children, they may not have anything positive to do.
“This is a positive, age-appropriate event to get your kids out and have fun while being surrounded by good male mentors.”
The Columbus Fire Football team, a minor league AAA professional football team, showed support and advice to the youth.
Coach Drew Greene says he believes football is more than physical ability or dexterity as he also develops his players holistically.
“A lot of the players on my team are fathers,” said Greene. “I believe that this is a good thing for them and is able to give something back to the community.”
Supporters Deltrin Kimbro and Wendy Caldwell from Place to Recover, a training and resource center specializing in re-entry, offered classic summer dishes during the event.
Place to Recover’s mission is to provide a multi-purpose facility that provides resources to marginalized populations to improve socio-economic conditions and promote independence.
“It just makes sense that we all get together,” said Kimbro. “Youth is important because it is an extension of the customers we work with.”
All meal revenue goes directly to Place to Recover and Living Water, another initiative that will be launched later this year, Kimbro said.
“If we strengthen the youth, we strengthen our customers and give family dynamics better chances of success.”