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 The new Harper Woods Mens Club is the spiritual successor to the Harper Woods Dads Club which, for almost 40 years, performed civic improvement projects throughout the city and supported Harper Woods High School. Several volunteers attended the first meeting of the Harper Woods Mens Club May 24 to brainstorm ideas on how to help the community.

The new Harper Woods Mens Club is the spiritual successor to the Harper Woods Dads Club which, for almost 40 years, performed civic improvement projects throughout the city and supported Harper Woods High School. Several volunteers attended the first meeting of the Harper Woods Mens Club May 24 to brainstorm ideas on how to help the community.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Harper Woods institutes new Mens Club to improve community

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published June 17, 2019

HARPER WOODS — For many years, the Dads Club of Harper Woods supported Harper Woods High School and helped out throughout the city on various projects that improved the community.

The club dissolved in recent years due to a lack of involvement, but the Harper Woods School District and several civically active residents are resurrecting it as the newly formed Harper Woods Mens Club. Open to all men who live in and around the city, not just those with students enrolled in the schools, its organizers are hoping it will fill a gap in the community.

“I hope it galvanizes men of the Harper Woods area as stakeholders in the community so we can be proactive when problems come up,” said City Council Member William Smith, who is helping lead the group. “We need men to be an active part of the community. When men speak, children listen.”

The group hosted its first meeting for potential members May 24 at the school district’s new College and Career Institute. Those in attendance shared ideas for how to improve the city and become a positive presence in the community.

“We are still brainstorming and seeing what kind of talents our volunteers have here,” said Harper Woods Schools Superintendent Steven McGhee. “What we will do is dependent on what our volunteers can do. We want to build the program up this summer so it’s in full swing next fall.”

While much of what the group will do is still being determined, some concrete ideas did come out of the meeting.

“(Our projects) will include safe passage and escort for younger students,” said McGhee. “We want them to come into the schools and help support the culture and climate our district is trying to promote, whether this be in the classroom, in the cafeteria or on the athletic field.”

Those involved in the group say that men need to play a more active part in Harper Woods, and opportunities for doing so have been lacking since the Dads Club disbanded.

“Kids need a role model, they need someone to look up to and set an example,” said Smith. “Some kids are lucky and they have that at home; others aren’t. We want this to be a group to ensure the young people of this community and this school district have that.”

“We wanted to make sure the community knows, and the whole nation knows, that men are important and play a crucial role in the lives of children and the community as a whole,” added McGhee. “This group can do the best for our students academically, socially, holistically and more.”

Those who remember the Dads Club, such as former member and Harper Woods Mayor Kenneth Poynter, said they are excited it’s back.

“The original Dads Club started in 1972,” Poynter said. “I joined it in the ’70s, and its sole purpose at that point was to raise money for athletics at the high school, like other booster groups at other high schools. … Over the last 10 years, it declined and stopped activities in 2010. It lost membership, but at one time it easily had 300 members.”

“This is just a new version of the old Dads Club,” added 32-A District Court Judge Daniel Palmer, who also was a member of the original organization. “We did car shows, Christmas wreath sales, Vegas nights and ran the concession stands at football games. … With it being the ‘Mens Club,’ it’s even better because it’s not limited to people who have a child at the high school.”

Those wishing to get involved can contact the Harper Woods Schools Superintendent’s Office at (586) 200-4644.

The new group is being looked at by those taking part as a way to be proactive in making Harper Woods a better place and getting people active in ways they may not have been able to before.

“I’ve heard from some residents that they don’t feel the community is safe anymore, so I think if the men step up, it will preserve some order,” remarked Smith. “Either we hang in there together or we simply hang. The people living here have to be able to solve their own problems.”