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Web letter by Nicole Liddell: YMCA joins in celebrating and supporting fathers

More than a century ago, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd aspired to create a holiday to honor fathers. The daughter of a single father and Civil War veteran was inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon, and she wondered why there was no holiday for fathers. After securing support from ministers in Spokane, Wash., her idea came to fruition with the first Father’s Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.

On Sunday, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne joins the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the effect fathers and adult male role models make in children’s lives. Nationally, one out of three children lives in a home without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect a father’s ability to seek support in strengthening their parenting skills and more fully engaging in the lives of their children. The Y remains dedicated to providing resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children.

“As a nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y believes that family bonds are a foundation of strong communities, and we work to help all families to learn, grow and thrive,” said Marty Pastura, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne. “Father’s Day reminds us why it’s important to recognize fathers and support them to be the best parent they can be.”

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.

There are a variety of programs at the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne that foster understanding and companionship between children and their fathers – and moms – such as Family Camp, Father/Son weekend, community arts programs, parent/child gymnastics, parent/child swim classes, family field trips, pool parties and more.

To learn more about programs and activities available at your local YMCA call 422-6488, e-mail or visit


YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne