Research shows that an involved, positive male role model can have a significant impact on a child’s development.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children in the U.S., under the age of eighteen is being raised without a father.
To fill the gap, schools across the nation and right here in our region are bringing male volunteers into the schools.
Alysia Huck explains how in this week’s Raising North Dakota.
“I think we’re missing something that those male role models can show them and I think some of our kids feel that safety with a male and they feel safer,” explains Grimsrud school counselor Erica Skoglund.
Skoglund is referring to the dads and father figures who volunteer with the Watch D.O.G.S. program.
That’s D-O-G-S, which stands for Dads of Great Students.
The program has been a success at schools around the region — so Grimsrud Elementary decided to try it out, and it’s been a success.
“We see the joy in kids in school, seeing the Watch DOGS give high 5’s, and hugs, and knuckles as they walk by, the smile…” says Skoglund.
Skoglund says it’s been a wonderful experience for the children whose fathers volunteer, AND the kids who simply don’t have many male figures in their lives.
“I think some of our students don’t ever get a chance to see a positive male role model, or maybe haven’t had a positive male role model in their world and so they get to see somebody friendly … somebody who wants to be involved in education and sees the impact and importance of education,” says Skoglund.
She says since bringing Watch D.O.G.S. in, kids feel safer — and it’s even cut down on bullying.
So what do the kids have to say about the Watch D.O.G.S. joining their classes?
“I really like that they try to keep us safe.” (What kind of fun things ?) … “They do fun stuff with us like play with us at recess and make us feel happy,” says 1st-grade student Livia Anderson.
3rd-grade student Trevor Aaker says, “My favorite part is being able to read with them is because I repel in reading in reading a lot.”
(What do you do when Watch DOGS come?)
“I say hi to them and sometimes ask for help,” says 2nd-grade student Karcyn Fischer.
“It was cool cause he sat at my lunch table and he was outside playing with some other kids,” says 4th-grade student Ian Thompson.
So from helping kids with assignments to giving them a push on the swing, the Watch D.O.G.S. program has been a hit at Grimsrud Elementary.
As we mentioned, Watch D.O.G.S. is a national program.
Click here for more information if you would like to get the program started at a school in your community.