In an effort to make dads feel more of a part of the school community and to encourage more volunteer efforts, McKendree Elementary in Lawrenceville recently sponsored its first Donuts for Dad event. Scheduled during the morning on a school day, dads were invited to drop by the school, meet teachers and PTA members, get acquainted with other fathers and learn about the school’s volunteering needs.
“We felt we needed to present our dads with opportunities to get involved, not just moms,” says Carol Ranft, co-president of the PTA at McKendree.
Ranft and PTA Co-President Tracy Turner enlisted the help of eight volunteers who planned the event. Donuts were donated, and the team worked together to come up with a list of ways in which McKendree dads could participate at the school that didn’t necessarily involve a regular time commitment.
“Fifty dads attended Donuts for Dad,” says Ranft. “And 40 dads filled out a form, expressing areas of interest that included taking pictures at school events, attending a school board meeting, helping with environmental projects like clean-up days and recycling, just to name a few.”
Ranft says that the next time they plan a program for dads they will schedule it for a time when the children can also be in attendance, such as a Saturday morning. “We learned a lot from this event,” she says. “Many dads said ahead of time that if the kids weren’t going to be there, they (the dads) weren’t planning on attending. This emphasized that dads want to spend time with their children. That was a good thing to learn.”
– Gwen Morrison