A group called the National Center for Fathering launched a program for American men almost 20 years ago.
The program is called Watch D.O.G.S. D.O.G.S. stands for Dads of Great Students.
The program tries to get men to spend more time serving as volunteers at schools across the United States. Most of the men are fathers. But they can also be grandfathers, uncles and step-fathers.
The program was the idea of two men, both dads. They launched Watch D.O.G.S. after two boys, aged 13 and 11, shot and killed four people at an Arkansas school in 1998.
Studies show that children generally do better in school when fathers are engaged in their day-to-day activities.
One study in 2013 found that a father’s engagement can help a child succeed in school. It can also increase the child’s chances of finishing high school, while reducing his or her risk of drug abuse. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the findings.
The Watch D.O.G.S. program now operates in more than 5,000 schools. It requires that men serve as school volunteers at least one full day during the school year.
The men do a little bit of everything during their volunteer days. Some help to direct cars and other vehicles entering school property to drop off children. Others will have a meal with small groups of children. This seems to help boys and girls behave better while out of the classroom.
During the rest of the day, the men can read to students, help teachers with activities or assist with small group projects.
Adam Mehmud volunteers at a school in northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. Mehmud is a single father with three sons. His own father died when he was very young. So Mehmud says he wants to be sure to be a good father.
He has been a Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer for three years. These days, he says, technology can take over a child’s life. It is harder for parents to find time to connect with their children. But the school day is free from video games and smart phones.
Adam Mehmud said he and other men see how interactions that may seem small can help children learn the right way to do things.
“I see my sons do very thoughtful things, and hopefully part of the reason for that is because I try to do things for others, too,” Mehmud said.
I’m Dan Friedell.
Tabinda Naeem wrote this story for VOANews. Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Do your children’s schools allow fathers to get involved? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
engage – v. to become involved with (someone or something)
dad – n. a father
bit – n. piece