A program designed to encourage fathers to take a larger role in their kids education is taking off in Texas.
Two fathers in Springdale, Ark., concerned about the safety of their children started Watch D.O.G.S. in 1998 after a middle school student was shot while in class in nearby Jonesboro. The program is designed to get dads more involved in their kids schooling and provide an extra set of eyes and ears on campus.
It has grown to 42 states that serve more than 2,200 schools, including 500 in Texas. Watch D.O.G.S has tripled in size in the last three years, and the program expects more than 220,000 fathers to get involved this school year.
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Michael Chavez recently got to spend the day with his daughters Jacqueline and Jessica at Calvin Bledsoe Elementary in Frisco.
The children loved having their father there, and he loved the opportunity to be be a part of their school life.
"If you take time off from your work and you come out to see what they're doing, it shows that school is very important to you and that it's very important for them," Chavez said. "Once they get that base, they have something to build upon and no telling what they're going to end up doing."
Kelly Cox, Jacqueline’s teacher, agreed.
"It's fantastic as a teacher -- not only to have the help of the dad -- but it's also important for the kids, too," Cox said. "They love having the parents come in."
And the principal at Bledsoe Elementary, Beverly Woodson, is also on board.
"When the dads come, the kids, it's giving them a message that says, 'School is important, and I think it's important enough that I'm here with you today, seeing what you do, talking to your teachers, being involved in what you're involved in every day,'" she said. "We've seen such a positive impact on our campus because of that."
J.D. Tomlin is the top dog at Bledsoe Elementary, volunteering his time to run the program.
"Dads need to be involved in their kid's lives, especially educationally," he said. "Kids need to know that dads care more than just about sports or perhaps every other weekend. Watch D.O.G.S. is really intentional about getting dads involved in kid's lives educationally, also for just positive father role modeling and to be a set of eyes and ears to prevent bullying as well."
Studies show that a child who has a father figure actively involved in his or her life is twice as likely to graduate high school as a child who does not.
But all you really have to do to find that out is to ask the children.
Jacqueline said it was a blast having her father at school with her for the day. Her favorite part was recess where her father played a ton of games, she said.
Jacqueline’s classmate, Hayden Latimer, said the day his father came to school was the best day of his life because he got to see him for the entire school day.
To find out more about the Watch D.O.G.S. program, just head to fathers.com/watchdogs.