Mizzou football players, firemen and fathers were among dozens of men who joined up to spend Tuesday afternoon with preschoolers from Title I Preschool.
Each year, Jumpstart and Head Start team up to run the “100-Man Lunch” in eight counties across mid-Missouri. Kristina Weston of Head Start worked to coordinate the event at Title I and said the mission is to bring 100 positive male role models into each lunch.
“So many of the poverty-stricken children that we serve grow up without that father figure in their life,” she said, “and so, we want to show them that males really are a positive influence, whether it be an uncle, a brother and grandfather or even just a friend who is a male.”
Josh Travis is a firefighter and works at Title I school daily through the Jumpstart program. He was raised by a single mother and said the male influences in his life were invaluable to him. He said it is important to him to be that to children now.
“It’s exciting to come back here for this event,” Travis said, “and bring all these great guys in Columbia that do so many great things for the community and give these kids an opportunity to be around them and to dream, as they do very well, about what life can be.”
Title I Preschool also invited fathers to join. Terrance Day came to the lunch to be with his 4-year-old daughter, Nia. He said it is important to him to support his daughter and her classmates.
“My father wasn’t involved in my life,” he said, “so I try hard to stay in my kid’s lives.”
Restaurants from around Columbia donated food and drinks to serve at the lunch.