Dads get donuts, time with kids at Berkshire
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 13:25

Shawn Cook, pictured here with his daugther Erika, was one of 500 dads at Berkshire Elementary School last Friday.  photo by Ben Boehl

School hopes to motivate dads to volunteer

by Ben Boehl

    It’s common for schools to hold activities that students can do with their mothers. Berkshire Elementary School wants students to remember dads, too.
    For the third year in a row, the school invited fathers to come to the school for “Donuts with Dad” on Friday, Sept. 28.
    Berkshire principal Vicky Ciulla said the school was hoping to attract between 200 and 250 dads to this year’s event. She was pleasantly surprised.
    “We were expecting around 250, and we have over 500 dads,”  Ciulla said with a smile.
    The cafeteria and gymnasium were filled, and an overflow room was used for the extra traffic. Dads got to eat donuts and help students with coloring, and they had the opportunity to get their pictures taken with their children.
    Ciulla added that this event wasn’t open to just dads, but to any male role model in that child’s life, such as a uncle, grandfather or older brother.
    “The kids love this day because they get to connect with their dad.”
    Heather Buse, Title I Parent Service Coordinator at Berkshire, said the event is aimed to promote male involvement and participation in the student’s education.
    “This event is used to make the dads feel more comfortable in the school environment. We hope that by breaking down the walls, dads feel more welcomed at the school and thereby want to become more involved in their child’s education,” Buse said.
    Schools are also looking volunteers, and Buse pointed out that schools mostly get female volunteers.
     “We also hope to increase volunteerism with the dads because moms are usually the ones that do all the volunteering,” Buse said.  “Studies have shown that students whose parents regularly volunteer in their school do better academically.”
    So, after the first two years, has Berkshire seen an increase in father participation? Ciulla says the answer is yes.
    “The involvement with the community is tremendous,” she said. “They are always working us and are involved with their children’s education.”