‘Eat and Run’ in Merced pairs students with male role models

Local News

MERCED, California – Students at Fremont Elementary School in Merced are benefiting from quality time with male role models on campus, Merced Unified said.

The children spent part of their day with their own fathers and other men who they can look up to, who were invited to ‘Eat and Run!’

It is a special occasion where staff members invited fathers, and other gentlemen from the community, to have lunch in the cafeteria and then join them for a game of soccer on the playground.

Third-grader Joshua Paredes spends time playing soccer video games.

“When I was little I always watched games about soccer,” Joshua said.

He was very excited to play the game in person, with the group of dads and ‘dads for the day,’ like Ruben Rodarte.

Rodarte is a member of Yosemite Church and said it is very rewarding to spend time with the students.

He does not have a child who attends Fremont but still wanted to give back.

“I am aware that a lot of the young men and women don’t have fathers in the house and I didn’t either so when I heard about the opportunity to just come and share some time with these kids I couldn’t pass it up,” Rodarte said.

School administrators are impressed with the turn out.

Their goal was to get 100 men to take part.

They ended up with a whopping 182 men and 3 women participating.

California Highway Patrol Officer Aldo Garcia said a role model is extremely important in a child’s life.

“Being that role model for the children who don’t actually have that role model and getting that confidence there, that’s great,” Ofc. Garcia said.

Students from third through fifth grade participated in the fun-filled event.

Volunteers included Merced firefighters, police officers and Merced City School District staff taking on the role of ‘dad for the day.’

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