NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A mentorship group comprised of fathers will add a chapter to North Little Rock.
“Dads on Duty” began in Louisiana as a response to rising violence in a Shreveport school district. Local fathers partnered with the district to serve as mentors to students, meeting with them regularly and listening to them with open hearts. Founders said the result has been a decrease in violence and murders.
“You need to show love and compassion when you encounter [students],” said Zachery Johnson, the chairman of “Dads on Duty.” “It could change their day, possibly change their life.”
Members from the Louisiana group visited Eighth St. Missionary Baptist Church to recruit fathers to join a chapter set to start in North Little Rock. The meeting included administrators from the city’s school district, and they announced the group will work with the “Charging U.P.” program that started earlier in the fall.
Aljay X Spencer is a pastor’s assistant at the church, and he’s a father of four. He said he plans to join the “Dads on Duty” group to take his fatherly talents to the community.
“There’s a ministry in just being present,” Spencer said. “It doesn’t have to be your child. I believe Whitney Houston was right in that our children are the future.”
North Little Rock administrators pointed to statistics that indicated violent behavior is happening inside schools, and they said they think this program could help lower those numbers in just a few months. Spencer said he thinks the positive impact will be obvious.
“If the men would just come out, just show up at the schools and get involved in the communities, I believe the world would be such a better place,” Spencer said.