May 5, 2014
In this week's Stephanie's Heroes, some Orange County dad's are coming together volunteering their time at Orange Elementary School. They call themselves the O.E.S. WATCHDOGS and they're doing everything from mentoring students to making sure the building is secure.
DOGS stands for "dads of great students" and the volunteers take their roles seriously and wear their shirts proudly.
"I really enjoy interacting with the kids and the teachers and just really being a resource for them that they can lean on and kind of help them out, said Scott Ernst, Co-Coordinator, O.E.S. WATCHDOGS.
The WATCHDOGS are ready and willing to help out whenever and wherever they're needed.
"I thought it was going to be just like we come in and kind of hang out with our kids but really you get to know your kids and the school atmosphere. You get to know their class but you also get to know other kids in the class on a personal level," said Nathan Cowan, Volunteer, O.E.S. WATCHDOGS.
Volunteers like Nathan Cowan get to read to their own kids and others in the classroom.
Another duty for the WATCHDOGS is making sure the school is secure and that includes checking every single door in the building.
"We walk the grounds. We hang out on the playground with the kids. We get to eat lunch with them and we've been doing some tutoring in the mornings with some of the kids," said Bart Lace, Co-Coordinator, O.E.S. WATCHDOGS.
Vice Principal Nick Sodano says the group is making a big difference for students, teachers and staff.
"Having that extra set of eyes and ears to provide a little bit of extra securing. Having that extra mind to provide a little tutoring in reading and math and support for student goes a long way especially when you're short handed especially the way budgets are these days," said Sodano.
Traditionally, moms volunteer in schools but students say it's nice to see some dads taking part.
"It's kind of cool because usually they don't do that kind of stuff. Usually, people have their mom's come to lunch and do stuff but now some dads are doing stuff too which is really cool," said Claire Vanderwater, Student, Orange Elementary School.
Harry Riner says the WATCHDOG program allows them to be role models to kids who don't have dads.
"Maybe they didn't have a father at home or maybe not the best situation at home and just them knowing while they're here, there are guys that are here to show you they care and be that father figure and maybe somebody they can look up to," said Riner.
Whether it's helping out in the cafeteria, reading to a class or assisting a child get across the monkey bars, these dads are hoping they've made a positive impact on every child they've come in contact with.