By: Willie Robinson
Operation F.I.R.E (Father’s Initiating Restorative Engagement) is a collective impact program in action. We are a group of men who have come together to address a need in our community.
We work to maintain a positive presence in the schools, as well as in the community, to help deter the recent uptick in violence. The initial program was piloted in Edison Tech and Franklin High School to establish a solid model with a goal to build capacity and reach other schools. Our hope is to get fathers to facilitate the program at their child’s school.
We decided to apply the KISS Principle (Keeping It Simple, Son). We agreed to simply love on the students and show them that they are important. We give encouragement while at the same time supporting the school’s administration, teachers, and staff. Our tagline on the back of our hoodie’s says, “You Can. You Will. End of the Story…”
Many people think this effort was started as a result of the video that went viral on Facebook from the Dads on Duty initiative in Louisiana. However, the framework of Operation F.I.R.E was built on a program started years ago at Wilson High School called Wilson’s Father’s United started by Willie Robinson, Wade Norwood and Lenzy Blake in 2010. We did the exact same thing back then and the program evolved and went districtwide in 2012 and was renamed Operation MAN (Men of Action Network).
Unfortunately, the program was not continued because of change in leadership at RCSD. But some of the original founders from Wilson’s Father’s United has helped shape the new program, Operation F.I.R.E. We have received feedback from a few parents that students are noticing our presence and have told their parents they feel safer as a result of our presence and interactions.
Operation F.I.R.E. will be establishing a presence during sporting events. If you’d like to become a part of Operation FIRE, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.