JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The 18 men gathered at the J.P.S. Environmental Learning Center on Highway 18 Saturday are dads who are looking for opportunity to get involved in their children's lives. They're part of a nationwide organization called Watch D.O.G.S., or Dads of Great Students. The Jackson Public School chapter held its yearly retreat Saturday.
"We're coming up with a strategic plan to implement this through the city, replicate it in the schools," says coordinator Fredrick Nolan. "Watch D.O.G.S. read to children on an elementary level, they may sit, read, let children read. Patrol hallways, monitor the buses."
This year, members of the Memphis chapter are sitting in on the meeting. Memphis Public Schools have about 100,000 students, compared to the 35,000 in Jackson. Memphis Watch D.O.G.S. are visible in 75 out of 200 schools.
"I always look at it as we're the missing link," says Larry Killebrew, Treasurer of the Memphis chapter.
"What we have is a nucleus of fathers that have taken on the challenge of growing the program. We go around to kickoffs. We recruit fathers," he says. "More important though is these children that don't have fathers. In some schools, the percentage is very, very high. We are their father figures. It makes a difference, and it's growing."
Jackson's chapter includes Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd. "Very excited about today, because obviously we can learn a lot from Watch D.O.G.S. in Memphis," Judge Kidd said before the program.
Jackson Police Detective Juan Cloy is also a member. He gave a special presentation on the consequences of growing up without good role models. "If you have a gang influx, what you have is a lack of community involvement, parental involvement, even school involvement," he says.
Watch D.O.G.S. can be fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or any male adult connected to a child in the school system.
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