12/01/2010 07:55 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Donuts With Dad

This morning I was thrilled to take part in what is quickly becoming a fantastic tradition at one of my Partnership schools: "Donuts with Dad," at 99th Street Elementary School in Watts.

Now in its third year, Donuts with Dad brings fathers and community members into school to read to students in the morning hour. The program began when 99th Street School Principal Sherri Williams made an alarming discovery. In speaking with students and their families, she realized that upwards of 50% of children enrolled at her school don't live in the same household as their fathers. Whether they reside with a single mom, grandparents, other relatives, or foster parents, Williams realized that far too many of her students were missing out on spending quality time with their fathers or a father figure.

Having been raised by a single mom myself, I feel for kids who are often sad, hurt, or confused about the lack of a relationship with their dad. That's why Donuts with Dad is such a great event. It not only encourages positive father-child bonding over breakfast and books, it brings dads into school and engages them in the education of their child.

It was truly touching to see over one hundred fathers participate alongside community members from the LAPD and LAFD, who joined in to read with kids who don't have fathers in their lives.

I am so proud of all the students, teachers, and the school leadership team at 99th Street School. Not just for their incredible academic achievements over the past two years, but also for their efforts to ensure the entire community is invested in their success. I can't wait to join you for donuts again next year!