Dads 'step up' and get involved in children's education - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Dads 'step up' and get involved in children's education

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National statistics show that elementary school students don't have many male role models. The men at the Combre-Fondel Elementary School think they may have found the solution. 

"Donuts for Dads" and "Dads on Patrol" are two initiatives started by Gary Trahan, Assistant Principal at Combre-Fondel. Now in their second year, the programs have become bigger than he ever expected.

"The behavior environment here is reduced, all of the poor behavior," said Trahan. "What we're seeing is a lot of positive behavior and in turn we believe that leads to a high academic performance." 

"Donuts for Dads" works as a symposium allowing dads, grandfathers, brothers, uncles or any other father figure to learn about the importance of being involved in their kid's education. That transitions to the "Dads on Patrol" program where dads walk the halls, pitching in to help anywhere they're needed.  

"The children are going to appreciate the fact that their parents and grandparents and grandfathers are here for their support," said Combre-Fondel Principal Harold Winey. 

Both programs were recently praised in the National Network of Partnership Schools, a national publication issued by Johns Hopkins University. Even without the national honor, dads like Raywood Joubert said being involved comes natural. 

"I try to show them and give them understanding and love," said Joubert, who has kids attending Combre-Fondel. "That there's somebody that always cares for them. So I try to give them that image."

It's that image of a positive male figure that Trahan said shows the program's success. That is coupled with the change that is bound to happen not just in the kids' lives, but the parents as well, he said.

"They firmly believe in being in their children's academic lives and we all joined together today in this program re-dedicating ourselves to making a difference in our children's lives," said Trahan. 

Thursday was the first event of the 2012-2013 school year. Trahan said that from the meeting he'll take the names, contact the dads, create schedules and get them walking the hallways as soon as possible.  

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