GOING TO THE DOGS — Brenna and Jocelyn Mentley hang out with Watch D.O.G.S. participant Tim Mentley, before he patrols elementary school hallways, to ensure student safety.
CATTARAUGUS — Many fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles and others in Cattaraugus-Little Valley Elementary School students’ lives volunteer to spend at least one day, per year, in the school, touring the hallways.
These “Watch Dads of Great Students” patrol school hallways, for students’ safety.
Cattaraugus-Little Valley Parent Teacher Association Vice President Audrey Maguda said that she first heard about Watch D.O.G.S. at a New York State PTA summer leadership conference and added that this endeavor was something she believed that the C-LV PTA should pursue.
The school’s PTA set a goal to have a Watch D.O.G.S. participant on duty, during at least 50 percent of school days, between November and June.
Following the program’s kickoff event, 37 percent of the days are now filled.
Another event, Donuts with Dad, will be held in January. Additional Watch D.O.G.S. can sign up, during that event.
Watch D.O.G.S. is a nationwide program that began in Arkansas in 1998 and now exists in 41 states and the District of Columbia.
Cattaraugus-Little Valley is the first school in New York state to become involved in this program.
The stated purpose of Watch D.O.G.S. is to “encourage dads or other father figures in a child’s life to be a part of their child’s education.
“Watch D.O.G.S. helps reduce absenteeism rates and provides students with positive male role models. At the same time, it gives the school an extra set of eyes and ears, to enhance school security and reduce bullying, while providing hundreds of additional in-school volunteer hours.”
In the morning, a Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer puts on a Watch D.O.G.S. T-shirt and name tag.
The day’s schedule includes assisting with student arrival, patrolling the hallways, volunteering in classrooms, visiting with students during lunches and saying goodbye to students at the end of the day.
For more information about this program, visit www.fathers.com/watchdogs
or email the Cattaraugus-Little Valley’s PTA at firstname.lastname@example.org.