While giving high-fives and monitoring entrances, fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles, and other father-figures wished students a good day at school during the launch of Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) at Mayflower Elementary on Nov. 28.
Volunteers wore designed Watch D.O.G.S. T-shirts and spent time on campus introducing themselves to students. The program encourages members to spend at least one day at the school and take part in school activities throughout the year.
“I think it’s important because studies show that parental involvement in school activities helps children in their development – not only academically – but socially building their self-esteem, as well,” volunteer Jeff Wenninger said. “There is a dire need for male role models in the school setting.”
Watch D.O.G.S., which began in 1998, helps students gain positive male role models while schools gain extra security. Volunteers who participate get a glimpse of the school climate, which helps them better relate to their children.
“These volunteers impact our students in a positive way because they take time out of their schedules to come to our campus as everyday fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles, and other father-figures,” Board President Terrence Williams said. “I know from my own experience as a Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer that by being present and actively engaged, our volunteers fill a much-needed role and build valuable relationships with our students.”
Responsibilities for Watch D.O.G.S. include working with students on assignments, participating in recess or lunch activities, watching school entrances and hallways, assisting with traffic before and after school, and other assigned activities that allow them to engage with students.
“We are excited for the program at Mayflower Elementary because it gives our families something new to be a part of,” Principal Michele Costarella said. “Having Watch D.O.G.S. at Mayflower will help promote a healthy and positive school climate.”
The program is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and ensures every child has a father or father-figure to connect with in a positive way while at school.
“Thank you to those who have already volunteered in the program,” Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. “We look forward to growing our group and getting more fathers and father-figures involved at Mayflower and throughout our schools.”