EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
Sometimes, the best way to get dads, father figures, or men in general to volunteer is to give them a clear way to do it. That’s one of the great things about Watch D.O.G.S.
“You just have to sign up and show up,” said Chris Putnam, a Watch D.O.G.S. coordinator for Spicewood Elementary School. “They’re not responsible to figure out what they need to do when they get here. The school counselor has all that ready. You just have to show up.”
Spicewood Elementary School is starting a Watch D.O.G.S. program this year. Watch D.O.G.S. stands for Dads of Great Students, but it’s not just for fathers. Putnam explained it’s also open to stepdads, grandfathers, uncles, and even adult brothers, or any father figure.
Spicewood Elementary is holding a Dads and Kids Watch D.O.G.S. kickoff from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 24, at the school, 1005 Spur 191. Everyone will gather in the cafeteria for pizza and drinks. Then, there will a presentation on Watch D.O.G.S. and how men can get involved.
“One of the things I’ld like to see is more men involved on campus,” Putnam said.
As a part of Watch D.O.G.S., the individual will volunteer during the day, when they can, and help around campus. It might mean assisting with student drop-off or pickup, reading to students, helping with physical education, or just lending a hand where needed.
Watch D.O.G.S. started in 1998 and has helped bring hundreds of thousands of father figures into classrooms. The program is in more than 6,450 schools across the United States. Some of the benefits of Watch D.O.G.S. include:
• Students get additional positive male role models.
• The school gets an extra pair of eyes and ears that help with security and deter bullying. Many principals have reported that just the presence of Watch D.O.G.S. on campus reduces reports of bullying.
• Dads get a look at students’ classroom life and learn about the incredibly complex decisions and challenges they face.
• Dads find they can relate better to their own kids and even connect better with them.
• The dads learn how big of a positive impact they can have on children.
• The volunteers provide important help for the teachers, students, and school staff.
“There’s a lot of information out there about how when dads … volunteer, it makes a big difference for kids,” Putnam added.
Plus, he said, it’s fun to help at school.
Anyone interested in attending the Dads and Kids Watch D.O.G.S. kickoff on Tuesday should email Delight Dehorty at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, September 23, and let her know how many people are coming (you and your children) so she can order enough pizza.
If you can’t make the meeting but are still interested in becoming part of Watch D.O.G.S., contact Dehorty as well at the email above or counselor Allison Smith at email@example.com.