By Trang Do

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On the first day of school in Philadelphia, a group of men walked with students in West Philadelphia, as part of the Million Father March happening nationwide.

Though their children have long graduated, each year these fathers still mark the first day of school by walking to school.

“They need to know that there are people there that are going to have their back,” said Steven Satell, who has participated in the march for eight years now. “I’ve tried to do that with my own children and my children’s friends. It’s reaped a lot of benefits.”

The Million Father March started in Chicago to curb violence in schools.

“Young men respond when they see men come in and they act better, and that’s essential,” said David Fattah, the march’s Philadelphia coordinator.

Fattah said 600 cities are holding Million Father Marches on the first day of school across three countries. The Philadelphia march is in its 10th year.

“We want to push as hard as we can, to get everybody, particularly the men to take the lead, take the lead, and encourage all of our young men, white, black and green, get in there, hang in there and do your best,” he said.

Students Imani Harrison and Khamani Burkett joined the men for the half-mile march from the House of Umoja to their school, Mastery Charter-Shoemaker. They welcomed the show of support on a nerve-wracking day for many students.

“This year it made me more confident about my school,” Harrison said. “Basically, I’ve got everyone around.”

“I think they are really good people and they actually really care about kids and their fathers,” Burkett added.

 

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