Volunteer Spotlight | Joel Harris, Hartland/Lakeside School District, Hartland, WI, Watch D.O.G.S. program "Top Dog"
WATCH D.O.G.S. ® (Dads Of Great Students) is an innovative father involvement, educational initiative of the National Center For Fathering. It began in 1998 in a single school in Springdale, Arkansas and has since grown into a nationally recognized program that has brought hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures into our nation’s classrooms and hallways. WATCH D.O.G.S. ® has created millions of “in school” volunteer hours and continues to have a tremendously positive impact on the educational process.
Today, our Volunteer Spotlight shines on Joel Harris, who uses VolunteerSpot's online signup sheets to coordinate the Watch D.O.G.S. program in Hartland, WI.
Tell us about your role as a parent volunteer leader.
I organize the Watch D.O.G.S. program at my son's school, and for the other schools in the Hartland/Lakeside School District. "D.O.G.S." stands for "Dads Of Great Students", and the program allows the fathers of kids in school to take a day off work and volunteer at their child's school, where they perform a variety of helpful tasks in their child's and other classrooms, and on the playground. It's a great way for Dads to get an idea of how their child spends their day, and to get to know their friends and teachers. The faculty also appreciates the extra set of hands and eyes, which provides a positive male role model presence, and helps bring a valuable extra feeling of security to the children.
How do you use VolunteerSpot to coordinate your parent volunteers?
I set up a calendar for the whole school year, and on each day, I create a signup spot for each of the three schools in the district where Dads can go to volunteer. I really appreciate the fact that the volunteers themselves can see which days are available for them to come in, and which days already have a volunteer. I also love the email reminders for the volunteers from VolunteerSpot, and the preview for the upcoming week, so I and the school's faculty know who's coming and when. Extremely helpful!
What other activities are you involved in as a volunteer or volunteer leader?
I'm also involved with my son as his Cub Scout Den Leader.
What’s one piece of advice you have for parent volunteers out there?
For organizers, I'd say don't be afraid to ask others for help, and be really clear what the volunteering job entails, because if you're simply asking for help in a particular position by naming the position, potential volunteers might shy away because they don't know what they'll actually have to do. Once people find out the nuts-and-bolts of a job, they'll often think "Oh, if that's all that is involved, I can do that."
Why did you decide to use VolunteerSpot?
It was very easy to set up and use (for me and all my volunteer Dads), with an attractive interface that is mercifully lacking in gratuitous ads.
We salute Joel and all the other volunteer leaders out there making a difference. If you're using VolunteerSpot, write and tell us about what you're doing and give us a chance to shine our Volunteer Spotlight on you!! Just email us at VS@volunteerspot.com.