Watch DOGS dads serve as role models
A group of dads are hoping to make a difference by making their presence known at Rogers Elementary School.
The Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) started in fall, and organizer Marcos Tapiz said the group is off to a great start. Tapiz has three girls at Rogers Elementary and said he first heard about Watch DOGS while attending a bible study last year.
A parent from Maple Grove at the bible study told Tapiz about the Watch DOGS program, and Tapiz watched a video about it and decided it would be a good fit at Rogers Elementary School.
“I emailed (Rogers principal) Phil Schreifels about it, and he said he’d like to get it going,” Tapiz said. “It just snowballed from there.”
Watch DOGS engage men to inspire children, reduce bullying and enhance the educational environment. Watch DOGS is the father involvement initiative of the National Center for Fathering that organizes fathers and father figures in order to provide positive male role models for students and to enhance school security. Today more than 2,610 active programs in 42 states participate in the Watch DOGS program.
“Moms were doing their part, as were teachers, but the male role model presence was missing in schools,” Tapiz said.
So Tapiz started the group at Rogers, and their first event was to host a pizza night where more than 300 dads and students took part. “The kids can play, and the dads can focus on meeting,” he said.
Tapiz said the idea has already spread, and that his friends are looking at starting programs at other schools.
A Watch DOGS survey indicated that 79 percent of principals agree that Watch DOGS has made a significant contribution to their school, and 96 percent of dads agreed their experience was rewarding. Tapiz agrees.
“The coolest reaction I’ve seen is from kids who don’t have dads at home,” Tapiz said. “They just eat it up. You’re there for your kid but also to be a positive role model for all. It’s awesome to see their reaction.”