The Watch D.O.G.S. school program in Park City is starting its third year but is still in need of more Dad’s of Great Students to help the pack grow. Melissa Allison has more:
The national program is a school-based family and community organization which thousands of schools across the country participate in. D.O.G.S. stands for, “dads of great students” and fathers and father-figures including uncles, grandfathers, step-fathers and more, volunteer at least one day a year at their child’s school.
Volunteers can do everything from help students with a given subject to hanging out with students during their lunch.
Ecker Hill Middle School joined the program two years ago with Treasure Mountain following the next year.
The program needs more volunteers and Park City Police Captain Phil Kirk said dads can participate in several ways.
“They can come in and they could actually tutor some classes if they have an area of expertise such as math," Kirk said. "They could work with the faculty to set up some math tutoring sessions. What I normally do is, I do lunch time monitoring and just a presence there in the cafeteria is helpful as kids get all together and, at that time, to make sure that they don’t get out of control and an adult presence there kind of deters a lot of negative activity from occurring.”
Kirk said they’re even encouraging more police officers to get involved.
Chief Wade Carpenter allows his officers to spend one hour a week to help with the program.
He said safety is always a police officer’s main priority, but there are other benefits to as well.
“Promoting good behavior and dealing with problems if they do occur, we’re right on the scene." Kirk said. "So, it’s much quicker for us to get involved, but hopefully our presence there, whether its us or any dad, will have a deterring effect from kids getting out of hand.”
Right now, a total of four officers are involved in Watch D.O.G.S. Kirk said they’re incentivizing officers with a free lunch at the school cafeteria with the kids.
Since moms tend to be more involved in their children’s education, Kirk said the program was designed to get the dads out there because everyone benefits.
“I think its good that they see their parents, or their friends’ parents, are willing to take the time out of their day to volunteer to make sure that they have a wholesome and safe environment," Kirk said. "And I think it’s great for parents to see their kids interact with other friends and other students at school, and that opens up a new perspective for them on their social skills.”
Kirk said to watch for the school’s newsletters that will announce the orientation for volunteers.
If you’d like to get involved, Kirk says you can call him at 435 615-5512. Right now, only Ecker Hill and Treasure Mountain middle schools provide the program. Kirk said to contact your school to encourage them to get involved.
I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW News.