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Program gets dads involved in the PTA

Program gets dads involved in the PTA

By Paul Nelson | Posted - Aug. 25, 2010 at 6:36 a.m.



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MAGNA -- If you were to attend a PTA meeting, you'd likely see far more moms involved than dads. Some school administrators say they would feel lucky if they could get a single father to participate all year.

Why is this? Do dads not care about the PTA or do they think they just don't have the time? It's probably not apathy that's keeping dads away.

Some Magna Elementary PTA Board members say their biggest obstacle is convincing fathers that they don't have to spend many hours to help out at their child's school.

Board member Randy Williams says many dads think they would have to rearrange their work schedules or possibly miss work to participate. But there may be a lot of small things that fathers would be very willing to handle.

"If they can come just before school or after school and help with the traffic that's in the parking lot or show up for lunch. [They could] just eat lunch with their child and other students," Williams says.

He adds, some fathers may stay away for another reason altogether.

"I think it's more just [them] being scared to do it," he says.

Williams says he can remember the first time he was asked to help with a field trip at his daughter's school. He remembers feeling scared and wondering if a mother would be better suited to handle the request. But he says the more he went to the school, the easier it became to volunteer.

Magna Elementary is the first school in Utah to take part in the national Watch D.O.G.S. program. D.O.G.S. stands for "Dads of Great Students." It's only the third day of classes and already Williams is calling it a success.

"Just this last Friday we had a big kick-off with a big pizza night where we invited all the dads and the students to come. We had an incredible showing. [There were] probably over 300 people, between dads and students," he says.

He'd like to see a program like this kicked off in other schools in Utah.

"After three years, I would love to see a dad at the school every day, [possibly] a different volunteer every day," Williams says.

Even if your school isn't participating in the Watch D.O.G.S. program, Williams says most schools would be more than happy for a child's father to volunteer their time.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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