Two paws up for great dads in Watch DOGSOct 27, 2016 04:55PM ● By Rubina Halwani
Fathers and kids enjoy the Watch DOGS kick-off event, Pizza Night. (Rubina Halawani/City Journals)
By Rubina Halwani | [email protected]
Dads of students at Spring Lane Elementary are donating their time to Watch DOGS (Dads Of Great Students). The initiative, sponsored by the National Center for Fathering, is a nation-wide drive to increase participation of fathers in the school community.
Chad Evans, PTA Coordinator and father of three, recruits others to donate time with various activities during the school year.
“Fathers and father-figures (stepfathers, grandfathers, big brothers, etc.) are encouraged to volunteer for an entire day at the school to spend time in their children’s classroom and to be positive, male role models for the entire school,” Evans said.
Evans helps to host the fall kick-off “Pizza Night” event at the school, on Sept.15.
“I was introduced to a grandpa that brought his grandson to the event. Though the man was a stranger to me, through tears he told me how cancer had claimed the life of his son, and now he was trying to provide the fathering role to his grandson,” Evans said. “There are many reasons that a home may not have a positive male presence, and Watch DOGS helps to provide that influence at school.”
The pizza event attracted around 50 fathers and 70 to 100 children. Little Caesar’s Pizza donated pizza. At least 30 fathers register to donate their time during the year for at least one school day. Although some of the members cannot volunteer, many offer multiple days of service. On average, six to eight fathers volunteer every month.
Services fathers provide range from reading, tutoring, chaperoning trips, playground assistance, crossing guard, small group supervision, and overall positive interaction with students.
In February, Watch DOGS will host ‘Dessert with Dad’ night. The aim of the event will be to recruit additional fathers, and help fill in the spring calendar of volunteer days.
“Fathers in the classroom and on the playground and in the lunchroom interact with their own children and with their children’s classmates in a way that encourages trust and fosters confidence,” Evans said. “Men can provide an element to education that many homes lack due to divorce, single-parenthood or even death.”
Tia Athens, one of Spring Lane’s Secretaries, noticed positive reactions from the presence of fathers in the school. Athens announces who the Watch DOG is for that day and encourages the kids to give him a big Spring Lane welcome. She said that the program brings balance to the classrooms, since most of the teachers are female. She also mentioned that children recognize someone’s parent from the neighborhood, drawing closer connections to the community.
For more information about the Watch DOGS initiative, visit http://www.fathers.com/watchdogs.