One of the focus areas of Congregations for Children (C4C) is helping schools to increase parent involvement, and of all of the C4C areas of focus, this is often the most challenging for churches to address. One great option for providing support to a school, which directly addresses this area is to assist the school with implementing a Watch DOGS (Dads Of Great Students) program.
The goal of Watch DOGS is to increase the interaction of students with positive adult male role models (both fathers of students and “father figures.”) Approximately 40% of the children in our schools today come from single parent families and do not have a father who is actively involved in their life. This is where church members can make a difference! Watch DOGS are fathers or father-figures who volunteer at least one day each year at an official Watch DOGS school. During the day, Watch DOGS may read and work on flash cards with students, play at recess, eat lunch with students, watch the school entrances and hallways, assist with traffic flow and other assigned activities.
Watch DOGS provides opportunities for students to interact with positive adult male role models while they are at school. Watch DOGS also helps enhance security of school campuses by having extra eyes and ears to monitor the school environment. Many school principals have reported that the mere presence of a Watch DOG dramatically reduces reports of bullying.
Persons in the Harbor District, over the past two years, and in connection with C4C efforts, have been working with several school principals in five of the counties in the district – helping them to roll out Watch DOGS programs in their schools. The results have been amazing. In almost every case, there has been overwhelming attendance by fathers at the Watch DOGS launch events. The school principals cannot believe how many dads come to these events. Most of them report that they’ve never seen so many volunteers, let alone male volunteers, come to their school for a single meeting – ever! Seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids as they interact with their dads at these launches is priceless. It’s a great feeling to know that United Methodists are playing a role in leading these efforts and making such a huge impact!
The Harbor District helped launch ten Watch DOGS programs in 2015-2016 alone. One of the school districts has even asked for assistance in rolling out Watch DOGS in every school in that district!
Congregations for Children (C4C) is a state-wide initiative of The United Methodist Church focused on reflecting the love of Christ in the community by helping children in public schools who are living in poverty. C4C is a great option for churches looking for ways to increase their outreach to their community/mission field. Even if your church is already involved in public school missions, C4C can help you to expand and strengthen what you are already doing. For more information on Watch DOGS or C4C , go to nccc4c.org.