ReNEW Dolores T. Aaron Academy and Ochsner Health Host “Donuts with Dad” Event
Fathers, male volunteers and community leaders join students for a morning of conversation and connection.
NEW ORLEANS – ReNew: Dolores T. Aaron Academy (DTA) in New Orleans East hosted its annual “Donuts with Dad” event today in partnership with Ochsner Health. According to DTA principal John Gravier, “Donuts with Dad” is one of the school’s most popular and highly anticipated events of the year. More than just a breakfast, it’s an occasion to celebrate and highlight the importance and benefits of getting fathers and father figures involved in children’s education.
Each year, the school invites fathers, male mentors, volunteers and community leaders to spend an hour or two with the students. The Ochsner Community Health Brees Family Center provides donuts, hot chocolate and coffee. But it’s the fathers and male mentors/volunteers who bring the real value.
Research indicates that dads, uncles, brothers and other father figures have a positive impact on a child’s academic success and overall wellbeing. The “Donuts with Dad” event is a way to show fathers and male caregivers that they are a welcome and valued presence at the school and in their children’s education. The hope is that it will plant a seed for continued involvement in the future.
“It’s always beautiful and powerful to see this number of Black men in the same room, with the same goal and the same purpose – to make our kids happy,” Troy White, Dean of School for ReNew: Dolores T. Aaron Academy (DTA), said to participants at the event. “You are the leaders in this community. You are the role models. We respect you in this community. And our kids expect everything from you, so we are thrilled to come together.”
“At Ochsner, we value our community and our neighbors in New Orleans East, and we appreciate opportunities to partner with local schools and organizations for events like this one,” said Kevin Green, Ochsner’s Vice President of Community Health Centers, who helped organize the event. “The kids love the donuts, of course, but I think the biggest takeaway for everyone involved is the feeling of togetherness and connection from the conversations happening all around.”
Special guests included Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr., Superintendent of NOLA Public Schools, and Councilmember-Elect Oliver Thomas, New Orleans City Council, District E. Area church leaders, members of 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans and officers and leadership from the New Orleans Police Department 7th District also attended.
This year’s event was held in the school’s gymnasium and cafeteria. After parents, guardians and mentors spent time talking with the children in small groups, some of the special guests spoke to the hundreds of attendees, sharing their insights and hopes for a community that prioritizes education. Children engaged in small arts and crafts activities and the school band and dance team performed. At the request of DTA school officials, Ochsner volunteers also joined in the event, serving as stand-ins for those students whose male parents or guardians were not able to attend.
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. Ochsner Health healed more than 900,000 people from across the globe in 2020, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner Health is a national leader, named the top hospital in Louisiana and a top children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report. As Louisiana’s leading healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. Ochsner Health is innovating healthcare by investing in new technologies and research to make world-class care more accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner's team of more than 32,000 employees and 4,500 providers are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region. To learn more about Ochsner Health, please visit www.ochsner.org.
About ReNEW Schools
ReNEW Schools is one of the few charter management organizations in New Orleans that truly affects every one of its PK-12 students from the first day of operation. ReNEW identifies the lowest performing public schools in New Orleans and through a vetting process with community members, staff, students, families, and the local and state School Boards, ReNEW assumes control of the existing school. This new control allows our organization and leadership the autonomy to make necessary staffing, culture, academic, and operational changes for the benefit our students' greater academic achievement.
The Turnaround Model is both highly challenging and rewarding: by assuming control of all grades at one time, we are changing the culture, perspectives, and trajectory of years-- and in some cases, decades-- toward student and community success.