This Father’s Day, Dove Men+Care is celebrating all of the men who have been #ThereToCare for others. They have asked fathers across the country to tell the story of the mentor, coach, teacher or any man in your life who deserves recognition on this day.
There’s a new dynamic emerging in our world today, only 46% of U.S. children live in a ‘traditional’ home. The modern family may be changing but the old verbiage “it takes a village” is still as relevant if not more than as it was in the past. The culture of men in families and our communities has changed as stereotypes continue to be broken about dads and their caring roles.
I am want to celebrate with you a man I just met this year, Dameon Pichetrungsi, or Mr. D. as he is called. Mr. D. is a Special Education Assistant at Broadway Elementary School. Mr. D. grew up in the foster system. There are so many kids lost in the system, Mr D. was one of those yet persevered. Now he is a Special Ed teacher assistant at Broadway elementary school and it just so happens on May 8, 2017 Dameon Pichetrungsi was honored at the Personnel Commission meeting as the 2017 Exemplary LAUSD Classified Employee of the Year. Here is a portion from his nomination submission.
At one point, the school had several socially at risk students. Teachers and administrators often met to discuss how to support each individual . Mr. D took the initiative to come to the principal with a proposal to offer to work with this group of students during their lunch time. In his proposal, his called this group the “Boys and Girls’ Leadership Club”. The students who often got themselves into problematic situations due to social or academic challenges met with him twice a week during lunch time. They discussed social skills, peer interactions, responsibilities, how to be safe and respectful, and other leadership skills. Since the implementation of his Boys and Girls’ Leadership Club, the school’s playground incidents decreased. The participating students appeared calmer and happier. To this date, none of those students have the same pattern of trouble incidents as before. This is very clearly greatly due to Mr. D’s work with them.
Mr. D. is always on the look out for the kids who try to hide in the corner to disappear, so he can pull them aside and do what he does best – letting people know they are not along and he will do what he can to help them. Mr. D can not walk across the school ground without being surrounded by a mob of kids wanting to talk to him or saying hello to the other parents.
“No matter how painful your past, you owe it to yourself to make something of your future.”
He had a few audio clips from a past project that he worked on. I included some of those in this video.
I am honored to be able to call him my friend and I am even more appreciative of him as a man who had said “I am not supposed to be here”, yet already has made such an amazing impact in our world, on a daily basis. He truly is a father figure to not only his own kids but so many kids, year after year.
Mr. D, I wish you all the best for being a man that is truly #ThereToCare!