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What My Father Means To Me Essay by: Sandra 9th Grade
Posted by : David Hirsch on June 24, 2013 - 2:36pm

For the past 16 years I have served as a volunteer reader for the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative (IFI) Chicago White Sox Fatherhood Essay Contest.  The group of 800+ volunteers pour over 10k-20k essays looking for the top 12 per grade, grades 1st through 12th grade.  It’s no easy task picking 3 dads, 3 stepdad, 3 grandfather, and 3 father-figure essays from each grade.  It’s a wonderful volunteer experience for women and men, young and old, and those with means and without.  There are always some funny and poignant essays and tears of joy and sadness.  Across the board all volunteers remark that it provides a unique perspective and cross section on fathering in our country. 


Every once in a while you read an essay that really stands out.  The essay below written, by Sandra a 15 year-old student in Chicago Public Schools, stands out from most of the 400,000 essays received over the past 16 years.  It’s both tragic and uplifting.  As Sandra references toward the end “through good or bad …..”  Remember this is a fatherhood essay contest she is participating in.   Also, this is word for word what Sandra wrote.  No editing or corrections we re made.


This is why IFI and TEAMDAD exist, to ensure more girls and boys are growing up with the care and guidance of a caring, nurturing father or father-figure.  Let me know what you think.



Sandra a 9th Grader in Chicago

2013 Illinois Fatherhood Essay Contest.




Your hero might be superman, batman, or even spider man, but my hero is my older sister.  Even since she found out I was raped she never left my side and till this day she still hasn’t.  Just like when my mother abandoned me and my younger sister, Aracely was there more than anyone in this world.  She is my mother, my father, sister, best friend, teach.  No one else can do a better job than she can.


My sister is my hero and I want to literally grow up to be her.  When I was 9, my mom once told me, “I will never leave you”. And those words were broken.  As my mother walked out our house door well knowing that the minute she walked out I was never going to see her again, my sister hugged me as tears of pain and suffering ran down my cheeks she tells me, “I will be the mother you never had, I WILL not walk out on you/”  Those specific words still replay in my head every time I see her and realize that she has not left me.  SHE is my hero and no one else deserves that position except her.  I am happy tin my life every minute I spend with my sister which is everyday the minute I come out of school till the sun sets and the night starts to begin.


My sister is my hero and maybe people are not able to say the same but I am grateful to have her.  Without my hero, I am nothing.  She is what motivates me to keep strong and not give up in life.  I travel the journey of life with her.  Through good or bad, thick and thin she is there to help me back on my feet.  And that is a hero to me.  No on else in this world is as good as she is.



David Hirsch's picture
About author: David Hirsch
David Hirsch is the father of five, ranging in age from 17 to 25. He is CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) at TEAMDAD and the founder (1997) of Illinois Fatherhood Initiative, the country's first state-wide non-profit fatherhood organization whose mission is connecting children and fathers by Actively Engaging Fathers In The Education Of Children.
View all posts by David Hirsch

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