Dads Start 'Watch D.O.G.S.' Program at Willow Elementary

Thousands of kids in Ingham County don't have a father to come home to everyday, leaving a big hole when it comes to having a male influence in their life. That's why Willow Elementary has started a program that's putting more dads in schools. The program is called Watch D.O.G.S., and it stands for "Dads Of Great Students." 

Click through the gallery to see images from Wednesday's event, where more than a dozen dads took the pledge.

  • Wednesday morning more than a dozen dads took the pledge to take time off every month to volunteer at the school. Instead of being at their jobs, these dads were hard at work at becoming role models.

  • "When I got here I was a little bit hesitant to join. We as watch dogs are going to have a lot of responsibilities, which includes reading and taking care of the kids," said Juan Gutierrez.

  • Trying to make up for absent fathers is no easy task.

  • "When I say absent, I mean physically and emotionally absent. We just want to fill that void for our students," said Steven Lonzo, Principal of Willow Elementary.

  • Of the 28,000 families in Ingham county, more than 9,000 of them are single parent homes with no fathers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • "Being a student in a fatherless environment, it makes a difference," said Lonzo. The students whose fathers are volunteering say they're more than happy to be sharing their dads.

  • "I'm excited my dad has time off his job to be with me and the other kids," said Niko Jose Quesada, a third grader at Willow Elementary.

  • Watch D.O.G.S. is a nation-wide program, but Willow Elementary is the first in Lansing to actually try it.

  • "Hopefully it will catch fire and we'll have some great results," said Lonzo.

  • You don't have to have a student at Willow to volunteer for this program. Just call the school to let them know you're interested in signing up.

  • They will do a background check on everyone who applies.

  • Play

    Click on the image above to see video from this FOX 47 News story