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CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- It started as a goal.

Get 7,500 Charlotte-Mecklenburg students and parents to walk to class this first day.

And throughout West Charlotte, students and their fathers, male role models and mentors are preparing for the day ahead.

It's a Project Lift initiative and a part of a program called the Million Father March. The real goal: to get men involved in kids' lives.

Educators know that children who have men involved in their education and social development test higher, make better grades and stay in school.

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