Inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon over 100 years ago, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd wondered why there was no similar holiday for fathers. Dodd had a single father, and she felt he and others deserved to be honored.
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. Many years later, it became a national holiday, and today we use it to honor the fathers and father figures in our lives.
On Sunday, June 19, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee joins the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the influence fathers and adult male role models have in children’s lives.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million—or one in three—children live without their biological fathers. Societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect a father’s ability to seek support in strengthening his parenting skills and becoming more engaged in the lives of his children. The Y, a leading nonprofit in fostering positive youth development, is dedicated to providing both resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and growth 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.
“We see so many examples of wonderful dads in our Middle Tennessee community, and we celebrate them this Father’s Day," said Jill Tramel, vice president of youth development at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee. "At the Y, we recognize how important it is for children to grow up with adult role models who are committed, responsible, and involved. Dads need support to be the best parents and caregivers they can be, and this holiday helps to remind us of that.”
As our community’s primary provider of family-based wellness services, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee is uniquely positioned to encourage dads and their kids to grow stronger together. Through fitness, sports, group activities, and safe spaces, the Y brings families closer, promotes good health, and fosters connections.
To find out more about family-friendly activities at the Y, visit our programs page.