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Michael Christian stooped to help his granddaughter, Naomi, 5, coat a ripe strawberry in a flowing chocolate fountain.
After claiming her prize, Naomi was hesitant to try the concoction, but the gentle tone of her grandfather assured her she should take a bite.
It was one of several bonding moments for families during a special event Saturday morning at New Highland Elementary School, celebrating the ties fathers hold with their children.
Christian said he brought his granddaughter along because her father was tied up with work.
“A lot of people think that Radcliff has nothing to do, but they always have something cool for the kids during the holidays,” he said. “This is pretty good.”
Parents enjoyed several activities with their children: Some tried Valentine-themed treats while others designed arts and crafts or ornamental plates.
Terrie Burgan, maternal child health coordinator at Lincoln Trail District Health Department, said the program she belongs to launched last fall, assembling partners to determine the needs in the community. At every turn, she said, they heard the need for more activities recognizing dads.
Assembling committees in Hardin and Meade counties, the health department has partnered with Hardin County Schools, the Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service, FamilyR esource & Youth Services Centers and Fort Knox Advocacy programs to host events, where they can distribute tests and surveys, compiling data on what programs would best benefit fathers.
Burgan said there is a healthy spate of programs available in the county to assist mothers, but fathers are often left in the lurch.
Saturday served as a first run; surveys were distributed asking what types of activities fathers would be interested in with their children and what educational information they are seeking. A small test also was disbursed gauging fathers’ nutritional IQs.
Ted Ingram joined his daughter, Katie, 10, as they playfully worked on a brightly colored picture frame to hold a photograph they had taken together. The Ingrams circulated to the arts booth after crafting a Valentine’s Day plate for mom adorned with one of her favorite species of marine life.
“My mom likes seahorses,” Katie said.
“She sure does,” her father echoed.
Ingram said he is active in his daughter’s school and jumped at the chance to attend something focused entirely on fathers.
Jeff Karger and his son, Ruben, 6, gamely participated in a session of Diabetes Food Pyramid Bingo, looking to see if the foods sounded through the room matched the ones on their board.
“He’s the last of our five children at home, so I’m trying to do as many activities with him as I can,” Karger said.
Burgan said organizers received more than 250 RSVPs, forcing them to send out refusals once supplies started to dwindle.
“We really planned for only 50 people,” she said.
Burgan said adjustments will be made following the first outing, but she was satisfied with the participation.
“This has exploded,” she said. “We’re really excited.”
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.