CAMDEN, SC (WIS) - Every dad is different.
Some are overprotective, some are strict and some might be happy to let their counterpart play “bad cop.” Whichever kind of dad you are, Camden Elementary School in Kershaw County is calling on you to help make their community a safer place.
The local Watch D.O.G.S chapter was founded by Tyke Redfearn. He said he wanted to start a chapter of the organization in light of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
“Talking with other parents, everyone’s saying ‘we’d like to do something," Redfearn said. “It was just what the something was. That’s how it came to be.”
“D.O.G.S.” stands for “Dads of Great Students.” It’s a program that started in Arkansas in 1998 and now has thousands of chapters in schools across the country. Camden Elementary just started its program in March 2018.
“It's important that we don't teach,” Redfearn said. “We're not asking a Watch D.O.G. to take over a lecture or anything like that. I think just making the connection."
The presence is the point. The hope is that the kids lead by the example these father figures set. They aim to provide positive male role models for the students, and provide extra sets of eyes and ears to reduce instances of bullying and enhance school security.
“It’s more about safety. It’s more about positive male role models,” Redfearn said. “And I think yes, as a dad it makes me feel more secure and less anxious about my children being here.”
Watch D.O.G.S. may read books to a class, sit with kids working on an assignment or just hang out at recess. It’s a little peace of mind for everyone involved. That was certainly the case for another Watch D.O.G. we met, Roy Fakouri, who was volunteering for the first time.
“We can’t protect our children from everything,” Fakouri said. “I believe there are mechanisms in place here that makes every attempt to do so.”
Even when Roy’s day of volunteering is over, the next day, another D.O.G. will pick up his agenda. That means the watch is never truly over.
If you’d like to become a part of the program and volunteer as a Watch D.O.G, contact Camden Elementary at their Facebook page.