What’s Right With Our Schools: Watch D.O.G.S.
Father and Watch D.O.G.S Chair, Ramon Blakley, works in higher education, but once a week he and other dads step away from their day jobs to take on different roles.
The dads volunteer by reading books, walking classes through the hallways and by putting a male presence in the school. It is only part of their many responsibilities.
“A lot of times dads are left out of the education process-like that’s some-a lot of people feel like that’s the mom’s job. They talk to the teachers, and dads we’re just kind of the back-up,” says Blakley.
Since September, the program has grown. What started out as a few men wanting to make a difference became dozens of men wanting to take part in the school-wide community, and change a stereotype.
“I think it is defying gender roles,” says Vice Chair Nick Nichols.
Both men saw opportunity in Watch D.O.G.S.
“We are kind of taking the gender roles into a modern role to where men can step-in and feel safe and okay being in the schools to be a male influence to these children, who really need a male influence in their lives,” says Nichols.
More than 47 schools, in 46 different states participate. This type of father involvement program is a first for any
“We’re able to answer questions. We’re able to high five students as they walk by,” Blakley adds, “It just brings a different level, because as you know, there’s not that big of a presence of men in education, particularly at the elementary level.”
Blakley’s 5th grade daughter Morgan looks forward to her dad’s scheduled visits.
“Being in Watch D.O.G.S., she’s counting down everyday. So like Monday of this week, she’s like Daddy Friday…Tuesday…Daddy [a] couple more days.”
Morgan says she enjoys her dad’s visits the most when he reads to her class.
“I think it’s great. My dad has always told us that he wants to support us in life, and not only in just academics, but also in daily skills.”
“We’re just here to help and we’re not here to be in the way. We’re not here to teach, because that’s not how we’re trained, but we’re here to be a service,” Blakley says, “I’ve even made copies, so whatever we need to do, we’re here to do.”
Adding part-time volunteer, assistant and role model to his set of skills is worth it, Blakley says, as long as students gain something valuable from the experience.
“I hope they remember that men play an important role in our society, in particularly education.”
These men hope to accomplish a key goal.
“I hope we’re able to make an impact and really develop better citizens, right, because I think that piece of it is missing in some places. So, we just really want students to care about their community, care about their education and care about themselves and care about one another.”
Blakley and Nichols hope school leaders throughout
Watch D.O.G.S. is sponsored by the
Learn more about Watch D.O.G.S.
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