Inspiration from the Soccer Field

I’m a proud uncle today.

My 18-year-old nephew was just named to a state soccer all-star team in Indiana, achieving a level of athletic success that eluded both his father and his uncle. He also happens to have a 4.0 GPA and, perhaps more importantly, cares very much that he maintains it. I know he considers his dad, my brother, a role model that has helped him achieve all that he has in his life.

My brother Scott has always made Kyle and his siblings a priority. He attends their games. He coaches them. He teaches them. He works to support them, just as our father did. More than that, he’s serving as an example for other boys and girls as a soccer coach. His involvement goes beyond his own kids.

My little brother is my hero. He’s overcome adversity. He’s stuck to his dreams, even if he’s had to modify them from time to time. He’s always known what is truly important in life. Most significantly, he and my sister-in-law have raised the three finest young people I have ever met. I am biased, yes, but I doubt I would find too many people who have met Kyle, Sera and Michael who would argue this point. These kids, and Scott’s level of involvement with them, are proof positive that male engagement pays huge dividends.

Research shows that parent involvement is integral to student success. It doesn’t matter if it is one parent or two (or even more) and the gender certainly doesn’t matter. It just matters that parents are engaged in their student’s education and social life. The simple fact is that women are already involved. More men need to be involved…and can be involved. There is a tremendous untapped resource in men. That’s why male involvement is a focus of National PTA.

Million Hours of Power is designed to encourage male involvement. National PTA has applied for a $250,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh Campaign . We can win these much-needed funds but only if you vote every day this month…and encourage others to vote, too.

My two boys are my priority, as well. But being involved in their school has made me keenly aware of the positive impact men can have on the lives of all children. Some kids need a father figure. Others need mentors or tutors. Or a coach. And that is why I will follow in the footsteps of my brother and coach a basketball team that needs a coach, despite the fact I haven’t played organized basketball since I was a sixth-grader. So if I can volunteer to coach a sport I barely know anything about, the least you can do is vote for Million Hours of Power (you can also text 102484 if it’s easier). Thanks in advance. You will be helping millions of kids with just one click.

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