Dave Hessler has a long work commute from Wellington to Denver. Last Wednesday morning, he adjusted his schedule so he could attend the Donuts with Dads event with his 9-year-old son Logan, a fourth grader at Rice Elementary School. And so did dozens of other dads.
There was standing room only in Sarah Miehe’s classroom by 7:30 a.m. Orange juice was flowing and five dozen donuts were disappearing with lightning speed. Dads and their kids stood around or sat at tables chatting, laughing and getting to know each other.
Miehe took a few minutes to explain the incentive for the gathering as she spoke about Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Kids). Established in Arkansas in 1998, the program is now in 4,000 schools in 46 states. Its purpose is to encourage positive male roles in school by encouraging dads to volunteer in their children’s schools. “It doesn’t need to be an entire day,” Miehe said. “We welcome you to spend an hour or so to do whatever you can.”
The program also emphasizes building community and teamwork. Whether they spend time with kids at recess, in the library or classroom, dads’ presence at school provides additional “eyes” and becomes a reassuring presence.
Dads who volunteer three times get a special T-shirt, photo and entry into a “Hall of Fame.” Volunteering dads are acknowledged in the school announcements on the day they serve.
Any dads with an interest in the program are welcome to contact Sarah Miehe at Rice Elementary School.