Odessa Elementary School Kicks Off Program for Dads

Odessa Elementary School Kicks Off Program for Dads

Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - PTA meetings, parent/teacher conferences, they're usually filled with active mothers. But an Odessa elementary school is trying to change the norm; they brought in a national organization called Watch DOGS, which stands for "dads of great students."

The kickoff event on Thursday night attracted hundreds of fathers to learn about the influence they can have in their kids lives. Then they broke out for some brain exercises.

"Traditionally it's been the moms at school but we want our kids to see some positive male role models at school, besides the teachers," Assistant Principal, Edward Gallegos, said.

Studies have shown a correlation between male involvement and low disciplinary issues.

"A lot of people don't have dads at home and it's sad. You know I want to be there for my little girl and my brother and maybe I can do that for some other kids," Jose Olivarez said.

"We have some men from Cavalry Baptist Church that are coming and they're gonna be our sub dads. Our substitute dads," Gallegos said.

"It amazed me the first time I ever went, the children you could see that didn't have a father influence in their life, they'd kinda flock towards you," another father remembered.

Gallegos had been doing it for two years since the first program started at his son's school, Barnett Elementary. He says he's seen the impact it's made on their relationship.

"Your child is ready to show you off. Like, "Hey this is my dad. He's taking time out of his schedule to come volunteer at school,'" he said.

At the meeting, the dads will pick one day in the year to come volunteer at the school.

A day of volunteering would include greeting the children in the morning, attending classes, P. E., lunch and recess and just generally being visible and available to help. For any dads interested in joining Watchdogs, all you have to do is fill out a volunteer application and pass a background check.