As if the President and First Lady passed baton to him, Rael Jackson, the 32-year-old second generation Vice President of Real Men Charities, recently announced the expansion of its 20-year old Real Men Cook model of men volunteering during the month of June and starring in Father’s Day celebrations all over the country. “The volunteer initiatives and service challenge from the White House provide the perfect opportunity for us to expand our Father’s Day activities,” Jackson said. “We are very excited to unveil this new initiative, and build on what has become a Father’s Day tradition of volunteerism and service by men in leading US cities which my parents launched 20 years ago.”
The new program calls for the continuation of Father’s Day food celebrations and health and wellness campaigns in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Houston, and expansion into neighborhoods all over the country. Jackson, who has a seven-year history with the organization stated, “While Real Men Cook has changed the way Father’s Day is celebrated in this country, Real Men Charities is active year-round, creating healthy family messages and lending financial support to the tune of one million dollars to non-profit partners over the years, all through the efforts of men volunteering their time, financial resources and talents for the benefit of others.”
Since its inception, several of Real Men Cook Father’s Day participants have evolved from local visionaries to national influencers in the political arena. Former Alderman Danny Davis, an original Real Men Cook participant, is now Congressman Danny Davis, one of the most respected leaders in the country. Congressman Davis has created legislation that matters, has expanded the conversation for families and has created programming, especially around Father’s Day that makes a difference. Congressman Conyers served as event host in Detroit and Marc Morial, now National Urban League president hosted Real Men Cook in New Orleans and Washington, DC. Even the President of the US, Barack Obama has donned a Real Men Cook bandana and served during the event. In 2005 President Obama also wrote the foreword to the Real Men Cook book. “The photo of the current president attending Real Men Cook with his daughters on Father’s Day and the fact that the First Lady mentions Real Men Cook in her Accomplishments Bio, inspires us to expand the boundaries for what’s possible through service and by celebrating the contributions of men to families and communities over the years,” says Jackson.
In cities like Dallas Real Men Cook has a legacy of spectacular food-focused family celebrations and leading men who have honored the organization with their presence. Committed family men like CNN’s Roland Martin and Chef Jeff Henderson are both past participants in our Dallas Real Men Cook events on Father’s Day. Henderson, who went from prison to being an inspirational success in his field, took the extra step to help others with programming that teaches skills and life lessons that are invaluable for youth.
On Father’s Day the organization will honor Henderson, Martin, Davis, Conyers, Morial, Obama and men like them, thousands of men who volunteer each and every day. Plans also include recognizing organizations like 100 Black Men, The Black Star Project, the Real Dads Network, the National Fatherhood Initiative and National PTA MORE Alliance, an alliance Real Men Cook helped to launch to have men become more involved in the schools.
Real Men Charities is suggesting that people across the country join in the Real Men celebrations as many have over the years, by creating family-focused activities, not just for the biological fathers, but with and for the father-figures that often go unnoticed by the media. “We never called our events fathers cook, because the reality is with blended families, divorce and other circumstances, some children are not in touch with their dads, but on Father’s Day we encourage the recognition of Real Men who provide something of value in churches, in neighborhoods, schools. In my case, my dad, my bonus-father, my grandfather, and uncles, as well as coaches, ministers and teachers,” Jackson says. Some men will cook at home for their family, some will simply make a special effort to provide something of value for youth; others will take actions addressing the social, mental and physical health of their communities.
This is a special year and the focus is on family and community health continues. Real Men Cook celebrations will kick-off in Houston, launching Men’s Health Week on Saturday, June 13. On Father’s Day in other cities the traditional events will take place and will include Real Men Charities’ Health & Wellness Pavilions which have been a part of the events for a decade now. The Pavilions offer free health screenings to over 1000 individuals during the three hour Father’s Day events and include nutrition and health education.
“More than our financial contribution to nonprofits over the years, Real Men Charities has provided invaluable marketing support and programming for organizations and programs throughout the year and has been a champion for healthy eating, physical, social and mental fitness. We are excited about celebrating our legacy and expanding the spirit of Real Men Cook into homes and neighborhoods throughout the country, through more active involvement with, and especially in supporting the service agenda of the White House.” Jackson continued.
For tickets to Real Men Cook in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and New York, visit www.ticketannex.com or call 773-651-8008, ext 2.
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