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Dads Are Making a Difference with The Father's Club

The Parental Involvement Initiative is Positively Impacting Students Across School Districts

Brad Holdhusen and Vince Stephens originally connected in late summer of 2018 at a football auction and came up with the idea of a way to get dads to be more present in the schools. They had a meeting with the principal of Blue Valley, Scott Bacon, expressing the idea of encouraging dads to have a real presence. In a little more than a year’s time, the Father’s Club concept has spread to all high schools within the Blue Valley district and to other schools throughout the metropolitan area on both sides of the state line.

The premise behind the Father’s Club is to help dads have intentionality and to press into their kids and their kids’ school. They want to complement what moms have already been doing so beautifully and have partnered with the B.V. Well parent group to help put wind in their sails.       

“Our goal is to get dads’ butts in seats when speakers and events happen, where it has previously been 90 percent moms,” Holdhusen says. “Moms have crushed it in this area in their very unique, special and effective way for years. We believe it is time for dads to come alongside in a very intentional and complementary manner as we are ‘better together.’”

“A Blue Valley principal mentioned how, as a society, we are losing our kids to suicide, drugs, depression and technology, and he was excited to have dads involved. We knew it was meant to be and cast a net out to eight or nine dads to have a first meeting on August 1, 2018,” says Holdhusen, co-founder and CEO of the club. “After a four-hour meeting, we started the first Father’s Club at Blue Valley High School. As time went on, a few dads from Blue Valley Southwest caught wind of it and asked to meet to discuss how they could do the same thing at their school. The Father’s Club continues to grow throughout the district and beyond as more area schools catch wind. Two Olathe schools plan to launch a club in the very near future. We are purely dads just trying to make a difference in the community and our kids’ lives.” 

Each school has a chapter chair, and that chair has a steering group. They talk about topics affecting kids. They plan to have two large events a year. Previously, they had Rex Hudler, a Royals commentator and Blue Valley dad, as a guest speaker, who says, “I was fortunate to play 21 years of professional baseball, and I’ve been broadcasting baseball for 20 years. That’s not my legacy, my legacy are my children. We can share with each other about fathering and how hard it really is to be a good dad. Anybody can be a father, but not everybody’s a good father. And it’s not just about being there for their own kids, but also showing up for teens in schools who may not have a father figure at home.”

Tim De Wees of Johnson County Mental Health also spoke of mental health awareness. The Father’s Club has partnered with Netsmart, and 25 dads from the club have become mental health first aid certified.

The idea became reality with a significant number of dads greeting students at the door with Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuits the first day of school and has grown into a weekly and monthly service opportunity for dads in the school community. Providing weekly supervision during the Tiger PAWS 60-minute lunch hour, meeting with and providing professional expertise and experience to AVID, leadership, and psychology classes, facilitating student-suggested workshops relating to financial literacy and social etiquette, treating students to breakfast at a local food establishment, funding “You Matter” bracelets for distribution by teachers to students, and hosting a “Mental Health First Aid Certification” training for fathers are just a few examples of the influence this group is making.

“The grass roots under the hood idea is connecting dads to each other. So many dads have reached out to me and said this club has impacted them as dads, their marriage and family life. People of all backgrounds and beliefs come together to unite for a common goal of love,” Holdhusen says. “Figuratively we can hand a big golf club to a dad, and he can smack the ball and impact his community and family, and all he had to do is show up!”

Such events the various clubs hold include dad podcasts, Dining with Dads on late start days at different restaurants and so much more.

“As a high school principal, words alone cannot describe the gratitude I have for the generosity and sincere care demonstrated by the Father’s Club. The idea shared with me a little over a year ago by two dads wanting to make a difference, is making a difference,” Bacon says. “Ideas that create positive influence and good will tend to grow beyond the garden in which they were planted. That has been the case with the Father’s Club.”

Visit for more information and to join.