NORMAN — At Norman’s Truman Primary and Truman Elementary schools, watchdogs keep an eye out for students every day.
The dogs aren’t furry, four-legged or mean, but they are loyal, protective and playful.
WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) Top Dog at Truman, Chad Vice said dads are needed in schools and children’s lives.
These children aren’t going to be in kindergarten forever, Vice said. One day they may be your son-in-law, daughter-in-law, your doctor or many other community leaders.
He said he considers the time spent in schools as an investment rather than just a volunteer opportunity.
In the world today, people have so much noise in their lives that children sometimes get left out and get on paths and make decisions they shouldn’t make, Vice said.
“Good, old-fashioned time doesn’t go out of style,” he said.
Other schools in Norman with active WATCH D.O.G.S. programs are Reagan, Roosevelt and Jackson elementary schools. School district officials said about 200 men are involved in the programs across the district. Several other district schools are interested in establishing programs soon.
This fall, to create awareness of the program at Truman and Truman Primary, Vice and other watchdogs created a short video to excite students. The video was shown at the schools and instantly became popular on YouTube, iPads and Facebook pages of many in the community.
After its release, about 70 dads signed up in one evening to participate in the program. Vice said he hopes to have at least two dads at Truman and Truman Primary every school day, but with a combined enrollment of nearly 900, there can never be too many.
“I would love to be in a situation to have five watchdogs regularly,” he said.
The mentoring program looks different every day. Volunteers might help students in and out of cars, play soccer with children, read to them, tie a shoe, color or patrol the halls looking for anything that might be out of the ordinary.
Vice said in today’s world careers, technology, divorce and many other factors are competing for children’s time and some children aren’t learning simple life lessons such as talking or making eye contact.
The watchdog program isn’t the answer to all of life’s challenges children face in today’s world, but it is an answer, he said.
The program isn’t only for dads but also grandfathers, uncles, cousins, stepfathers or anyone who has time they want to spend influencing a child’s life.
For more information, visit fathers.com.