Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) is a national program promoting father involvement and positive male role-models in elementary schools. It is sponsored by the National Center for Fathering and has been active since 1999. According to their official website there are over 3,793 active Watch DOGS programs in 46 states as of the date of this posting.
This is an excellent program for those who are interested in getting involved at the local level. If promoting positive role-models and connecting with children is your passion, I encourage you to either join a nearby group, or create one.
Some key resources:
- You may find a nearby group to volunteer at here at Volunteer Spot.
- Official training for the program is available free via conference call here.
- Here is a downloadable handout listing the benefits, goals, nature, and public recognition of the program.
- For more information, email the program at firstname.lastname@example.org. A program director can be contacted at 1-888-540-DOGS (3647).
Who are WatchDOGS? Fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles, and other father figures who volunteer to serve at least one day a year in a variety of school activities as assigned by the school principal or other administrator.
From what I have read in various publications, popular Watch DOGS activities may include (but are not limited to):
- Reading to children in the school library or in class
- Helping students with arts and crafts
- Helping students study via flash cards and other cooperative study activities
- Engaging with and providing guidance to students during lunch or other break periods
- Assisting in loading/unloading buses
- Being a monitor in the hall and at recess
- Just being a positive part of children’s lives.
Jim Moore is a concerned father who founded Watch DOGS in response to a shooting in an Arkansas middle school in 1998. Since then the program has grown by leaps and bounds. According to their handout, the goals of the program are to:
- Raise the banner of positive fathering through the forum of schools across America and the world
- Awaken fathers to the values and benefits of committed fathering
- Change culture by where every student has a father or father-figure to connect with in a positive way at school
- Help every school in America to be positively impacted by the committed involvement of fathers and father-figures in their student’s life.
There are several videos available online featuring their work. Here is an excellent segment about them on Good Morning America:
And from the official Watch DOGS YouTube channel:
Here are a few stories about Watch DOGS in local online publications:
- Beaumont dads bond together to be role models at school [Texas]
- Watch DOGS protect kids, empower dads [Colorado]
I am happy to report on such programs which empower students and provide healthy activism opportunities at the ground level, and will be reporting on more in the future.
A link to this page has been added to the AVFMS page “Educational Attainment Groups and Programs” (which has also been slightly redesigned).