2022 IlLinois Fatherhood Initiative

Essay Contest

In 24 years, our flagship program has collected nearly half-a-million essays from Illinois schoolkids!

Calling All School-Aged Illinoisans!



To participate, IL school kids write on the topic:

‘What My Father or an Important Father-Figure Means to Me’

The next contest starts in January 2022.


A look at 2021


Pre/K– Catherine C, Columbia Explorers

1st Grade – Liena R, Columbia Explorers

2nd Grade – Adelyn W, Arbury Hills

3rd Grade – Arizbeth P, Columbia Explorers

4th Grade – Diego R, Columbia Explorers

5th Grade – Daniel M, Columbia Explorers

6th Grade – Nicolas P, Rachel Carson

7th Grade – Arabella E, Bridgeport Catholic

8th Grade – Enriqueta P, Rachel Carson 

9th Grade – Tatiyana D,   De La Salle Institute

10th Grade – Soley G, De La Salle Institute

11th Grade – Brian M, Saint Ignatius

12th Grade – Aniyah D, De La Salle Institute


Carlos Cardenas,  Father of the Year

Andres Rios, Father of the Year

Aaron Werkman, Father of the Year

Ramiro Pineda, Father of the Year

Samuel Rivera, Father of the Year

Ben Bukovac, Father-Figure of the Year

Jesus Jasso, Grand-father of the Year

Ken Elliott, Father of the Year

Jose Perdomo, Father of the Year

Eric Lamont Payton, Father-Figure of the Year

Qortez Lewis, Stepfather of the Year

Michael Moore, Father of the Year

Andre Davis, Father of the Year


Congratulations to all 2700 Essayists!!!



Our 300+ Volunteers read every single essay at least twice and have made selections.

IL Fatherhood Initiative

"Engaging Fathers in the Lives of Their Children"
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