For Carl Toussaint, the hardest part of being stationed in Afghanistan was watching his four young children grow up on a computer screen.
“Out of all the things that happened over there, that was the worst,” said Toussaint, 40, an Army soldier who spent a year away from home.
On Saturday, Toussaint, along with hundreds of others, participated in a Dads, Fathers & Kids event hosted by All Pro Dad at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. The event kicked off a partnership between Family First and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The event began at the stadium with speakers including Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis and former Dolphins players Twan Russell and Lousaka Polite.
“Being a parent is the most important thing you can ever do,” said Polite, who proudly introduced his daughter, Anya Polite, 13, to the crowd. “I look at my life and watching her develop and it goes by so fast. Cherish the moments.”
Families were then split into groups and taken to do different activities such as football, dancing and reflecting on why relationships among fathers and their children are so important.
“I definitely think that without my dad, I would not be where I am today,” said Sturgis whose own father is a pastor. “As far as on and off the field, it was never about results as much as it was representing the family well and representing the Lord well.”
The All Pro Dad Father & Kids Experience has been held more than 80 times in 21 different NFL, MLB and NCAA markets since 2002. Each Father & Kids Experience aims to create opportunities for fathers to deepen their relationships with their children.
Parents were encouraged to start an All Pro Dad chapter at their children’s schools.
Madison Toussaint, 9, enjoyed looking at trophies and high-fiving the athletes, but her favorite part was writing messages to her dad to show her love.
“My dad is very smart. He teaches us a lot of stuff,” said Madison, who attends Pembroke Pines Charter Elementary school. “He teaches us there is no ‘I’ in team.”