Sunnyside Elementary D.O.G.S.

About the Program

Sunnyside D.O.G.S. is based on an innovative program being used by schools across America, through the committed involvement of fathers and father-figures, to positively impact the lives of their students. Our goal is to have male role models, like you, spend at least one day during the year in our school to help increase school safety, decrease bullying, and provide an opportunity for fathers and father figures to be involved in all students’ lives.

Who can join D.O.G.S.?

Dads, grandpas, uncles, step-dads, older brothers, male community members …someone just like you!

Why is it important?

Every child needs a positive male figure in their life. Every man deserves the experience of fulfilling that need!

What do D.O.G.S. do?

D.O.G.S. sign up to spend a half day or full day at the school during the school year. You can sign up for a single day, monthly, weekly, or whatever fits into your schedule. When you arrive at the school on your day, there will be a schedule waiting for you of your volunteer tasks. Don’t worry, we will make sure you are comfortable with your tasks.

How to sign up

Complete the district’s online volunteer form. Click here

Join the informational email list

Join Us

The Sunnyside D.O.G.S. Pizza Launch Party will be held in October.


Former member of Sunnyside D.O.G.S., Brian, shared his experience:

Instead it was ME who was getting joy and meaning FROM THEM.

As the Watch Dogs program was introduced to me, I saw the importance of the program but I was a little apprehensive. I’ve never worked with kids before. When will I find the time? What do I have to offer these kids? The foundation of the program is giving kids positive male role models. This doesn’t just impact one child, it affects our community and our future. Understanding the value of this was easy. The hard part was committing to yet another responsibility. I am so grateful that I volunteered and I will be again even more next year. But I no longer consider it “giving” because I get so much in return.

A Typical D.O.G.S. Day

  • Greeting the kids and making sure they survive the parking lot
  • Getting high fives in the hallway
  • Helping a teacher with a special project, grading papers, helping kids with reading and counting
  • Helping kids with their school work, researching stuff on the computer, helping kids format papers
  • Playing outside!! The kids get it started, we just join in. (like wall-ball, bump, kickball, or basketball
  • Free lunch paid for by the PTA! You will be the most sought after person in the lunchroom, it’s like being a celebrity!
  • More playground time. Playing kickball, talking, or walking around the track, more games, etc.
  • Rounding up the jackets and bags left during recess
  • Walking around the campus making sure there are no stragglers or creepers
  • More classroom time, with a different teacher and their kids

I wasn’t sure if I was the role model they were looking for.

It took one day to know I was exactly what these kids needed. And that the Watchdog program was exactly what I needed. Kids are so open and honest. Some of these kids have very tough situations at home. And you don’t have to be superman to improve their viewpoint of a male adult. Are you an average guy? Then, yes, you should be our newest WATCHDOG. Every guy I know has something about them that’s interesting or has a skill they can display that will help a child in school. I was a little anxious about classroom time, but it was easy. The teacher tells you exactly what to do.

All that said, I know it’s difficult to find the time to commit.

I volunteered for only 8 days during the school year (once a month 7am-2pm). Committing to 1 (not even full) day a month was hard at first. At the time I thought it was a big deal, but now that I write this, I feel guilty. I could have probably done more. We all have valid reasons not to volunteer in our hectic lives. Lets face it, it’s quite the juggling act at times. I might even be worse than most guys reading this at balancing the juggling act. It is refreshing unplugging from the world for a day and playing with these kids.

The moment I left the school I was looking forward to the next WATCHDOG day.

I remember each time leaving the school with about the biggest smile on my face and reminiscing about the day. By about the third time to the school, I started realizing the profound impact this was having on me. I LOVED the time with these kids, and soon I realized I no longer felt like I was giving anymore…it was instead ME who was getting joy and meaning FROM THEM. I’ll tell you, being the most popular guy in school was a confidence builder and I really like being the tallest basketball player, not that it made me any better than the kids. : )

The time I “gave” paid me ten-fold in return

But In all seriousness, the time I “gave” paid me ten-fold in return. It helped me appreciate my family. I now truly appreciate the teachers and what it takes to teach my kids, let alone a group of kids. I have a greater sense of community. I met some really cool kids, which I hope will become really cool adults. And I had some great conversations. I know I made a difference in those kids’ lives. That feels pretty good. They are so honest in their appreciation for you. Please don’t assume that someone else is going to volunteer. This is an invaluable program. I’m taking time to write this because we need more WATCHDOGS. I’m writing to you. I promise if you pour yourself into it for that time you commit to, you WILL make a difference and I hope you receive even a fraction of the joy and appreciation I have experienced this year from being a WATCH DOG. A dad doesn’t even have to give a whole day, it could be part of a day, or even just an hour a year. But if you get involved, I’m confident, you’ll be hooked.

How can you get started?

First, learn more and see if it’s something you want to do. There will be a WATCHDOG introductory meeting this fall. Do yourself a favor and attend this meeting. Then decide whether this is something you’re able to do. I can’t articulate enough, how glad I am that I did. I hope to meet you there.



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