Sioux Falls, SD
A Sioux Falls elementary is putting out the call for more dads to come back to school.
Laura Wilder Elementary is hosting a gathering Friday night to get more schools and parents interested in joining a program that places father figures in the classroom. '
The program is called Watch D.O.G.S. which stands for Dads Of Great Students. Laura Wilder became the first school in Sioux Falls to organize a chapter last year. And so far, it's had a positive impact on both students and dads.
The father-son bond grows even stronger inside the hallways of Laura Wilder Elementary.
"It's just a good feeling that your dad is with you at school," 4th grader Ethan Hamman said.
Ethan and Aiden Hamman's step-dad Jerry Hauff is one of the volunteer father figures at Laura Wilder.
"It's a long day. If you've ever experienced being at school all day as a kid, yeah, I went back to work for a break," Hauff said.
Hauff keeps busy by helping students with their school work and recess. Ethan and Aiden don't mind sharing their step-dad with their classmates.
"A lot of times I see kids playing sports with him and tag and stuff," 2nd grader Aiden Hamman said.
A lot of students come from family backgrounds where dad is not a part of their everyday lives. So it's all the more important to have a male role-model in the classroom with them.
"So these kids really take to you. They're high-fiving and hugging you, they're hanging out with you all day and they're wanting to throw the football," Hauff said.
Studies show that an involved dad has a strong influence on how well kids do in school. So the hope is the more men who volunteer, the more students who benefit because of a caring dad.
"This program can't help save the world, by any means. But, you do notice all the teachers are very appreciative, and they can always use the extra help," Hauff said.
Parents can learn more about the Watch D.O.G.S. program by attending a dads and kids event at Laura Wilder Elementary. It goes from 6:00 to 7:15 Friday night. And, they'll be serving free hot dog.