Visiting family in Germantown from out-of-state, Jay Fox recently spent a day volunteering at his granddaughters’ school, Lake Seneca Elementary on Wanegarten Drive.
Fox read aloud in one classroom, helping with math problems in another. He even assisted with duty in the lunchroom and out on playground.
The opportunity was thanks to a program new this school year to Lake Seneca, called Watch D.O.G.S., or Dads of Great Students. Although the program has the word “Dads” in the title, it’s truly for fathers, grandfathers, uncles, older brothers and other male role-model figures, program organizers said.
And it’s already a hit at Lake Seneca, according to Fox, whose granddaughter Yasya Yanevskyy is in third grade and Sofi Yanevskyy is in fifth.
“The kids are so used to the Watch D.O.G.S. program, that random kids would come up and high-five me in the hall. That was a great part of the day, too,” he said. “I really enjoyed it. I love the spirit of the school. Everybody was happy to see me, welcoming me.”
Fox encouraged others to volunteer, saying the experience was not only rewarding but went very smoothly, as well.
He was greeted at the door and “I had a full schedule for the day. I knew exactly where I needed to be,” he said. “They made sure I was in both my granddaughters’ classes.”
The Lake Seneca Parent Teacher Association (PTA) celebrated the success of Watch D.O.G.S. last Wednesday morning with a “Donuts for Dads” event open for dads and others to come spend time with their young students and learn more about the program.
“The Watch D.O.G.S. at our school have been welcomed by staff and students alike. The wonderful fathers and grandfathers are showing that they are invested in their child's education, and are providing additional male role-models at the school,” said Nikki Snyder, Lake Seneca's PTA president. “The Watch D.O.G.S program has been a huge success."
Although Watch D.O.G.S. is new to Lake Seneca, the program began in 1998 at an elementary school in Arkansas and has spread both nationally and internationally under the auspices of the National Center for Fathering, a non-profit organization based in Springdale, Ark.
Top: Lynden Martin enjoys “Donuts for Dads Day” with granddaughter Emma.
Next: Jay Fox attends Donuts for Dads after having volunteered at Lake Seneca Elementary.
Photos by Cecily Nance