Lewisburg — Tri-County North Elementary School is working hard to get male role-models involved in the school.
TCNES is joining a national program called WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students). The school kicked off the program on Tuesday, Sept. 12, with an event called Donuts with Dads.
WATCH D.O.G.S. are dads, step-dads, grandfathers, and any other father figure who signs up to come into the school and shadow their student for a school day. The purpose of this event is to promote family engagement.
According to the National Center for Fathering, “WATCH D.O.G.S. is one of the nation’s largest and most respected school-based, family, and community engagement, organizations in the country. Since the program’s creation in 1998, more than 6,450 schools across the country have launched a WATCH D.O.G.S. program of their own. Each school year hundreds of thousands of fathers and father-figures make a positive impact on millions of children by volunteering millions of hours in their local schools through this amazing one-of-a-kind program.”
The program on the national level is a K-12 program, but Tri-County North’s program only includes the elementary school.
The Donuts with Dads event was meant to bring father figures into the school, allow them to eat breakfast with their child, and give them an opportunity to sign up to volunteer. However, father figures can sign up to volunteer by calling TCNES and speaking with Secretary Karen Wombold any time throughout the school year.
Father figures who are interested would be signing up to volunteer to shadow their child for one Friday. Dads who have more than one child in the building are allowed to either split the day between their children or sign up for multiple days.
Elementary Principal Joe Finkbine said what the fathers would be doing would depend on the teacher.
“Most assist with activities in the classroom. They may read a story to the class, or a small group of students, or dads may even work on skills with students such as math facts,” he added.
Father Terry McMillan came out to the Donuts with Dads event after his son asked him to eat breakfast with him.
“I’ve already signed up to volunteer,” he said. “I wanted to volunteer, because I don’t get to as much as I would like. I’m a truck driver, so I come here when I can. I think it is great that the school is doing this program. It helps the kids feel more comfortable with the school and it makes everyone feel part of the family.”
“I came out to sign up for the WATCH D.O.G.S. and to get free coffee and doughnuts. Also to spend time with my son,” father Nathan Corder said. “I haven’t signed up yet, because I don’t known when I can get a day off. I want to come in to see how things work in the school – and to make sure my son is behaving. I think this program is great. Trying to keep the parents involved in the kids schooling is a really good idea.”
According to Finkbine, he wanted to hold this event to show dads how important they are to their children. He has seen various statistics which show father figures as invaluable to healthy and happy children.
“I have seen firsthand how excited our students are when their dad is coming in to volunteer in the building. I want dads to know just how important they are in their child’s lives and this is a small way for them to see this,” he said. “There are a lot of statistics showing how important fathers are in their children’s lives and I want to make a positive difference in our community.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH