It was a beautiful morning for a walk to school, as dads, grandparents, family members and other role models took part in the 7th Annual MENtor’s Walk at Veterans Memorial Park on Friday, Sept. 15.
Families from Abram Lansing, Harmony Hill and Van Schaick gathered at the park as The Brass Machine welcomed them with New Orleans-style music. This marks the first year that students from Van Schaick were bussed to the park to participate in the event.
“It was very exciting to be a part of the MENtor’s Walk this year,” said VSGS Principal Jacqueline DeChiaro. “The coming together of all three elementary schools displayed the importance we place on mentors in our children’s lives.”
The walk was started years ago as a way to bring fathers and children together for a fun morning that emphasized the importance of having a male figure in a child’s life. Over the years, moms, grandparents, neighbors, and coaches and have all joined in on this festive occasion.
Harmony Hill Principal Mark Perry welcomed the crowd and introduced City of Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler and guest speaker Cohoes City Court Judge Eric Galarneau.
Mayor Keeler thanked the fathers, stepfathers and grandfathers, etc. for the important roles they play in the lives of their children.
“The discipline, encouragement and support that you provide is critical to their development,” he said.
Judge Eric Galarneau, a father of three children in the school district, told the crowd that mentors come in all shapes and sizes, and don’t necessarily know the impact they have on a child.
“Even if you don’t feel like a mentor, your actions are meaningful to the kids,” he said. “That’s what we thank you for, today, and each day going forward.”
Gary Charbonneau, father of two kids at Abram Lansing, enjoyed the event and was amazed at all of the support the kids have.
“For me, the mentor walk is more than just a walk and breakfast with kids. It’s showing them they have someone who loves and cares for them,” Mr. Charbonneau said. “It’s important that we have events like this to show kids they will always have someone in their corner.”
Following the speech, students and their mentors walked to their respective schools where they enjoyed breakfast before heading to class.