In the Spring of 2022, it was announced that Watch D.O.G.S. would be closing. A little over a month later, a follow-up notice went out in May that established a new future for the program, with the national offices of Dads of Great Students being established in Austin, TX and the WATCH D.O.G.S. program began a process of change and renewal. We’ll be documenting some of those changes, including new training programs and community building efforts here in this blog on DADS.GS (dadsofgreatstudents.com)
Starting soon, you’ll be able to come to this space to watch replays of our weekly leadership series for Top D.O.G.S., Program Coordinators, parent volunteers and educators.
This first post though is the letter that Co-Founder, Eric Snow, put out to announce his decision to turn the program over rather than shut it down, and Jim Walters’ response in sharing with the WATCH D.O.G.S. community his inspiration for stepping in to serve school programs, coordinators, Top DOGS and students.
Thank you for joining us here. We look forward to serving you on this journey of improving outcomes for all of our students!
From Eric Snow, May 11, 2022
In the last 5 weeks since I announced that the National WATCH D.O.G.S. office would be closing down at the end of July, the response from schools and parents around the country has been overwhelming. The outpouring of love and support for the program has been unbelievable and I will be forever grateful to our WATCH D.O.G.S. family.
One of the very best things that came out of those many conversations was meeting Jim Walters. Jim is a father, a husband, a successful business owner in Austin, and a long-time and very passionate WatchDOG.
In a relatively short period of time, it’s become clear that Jim has the passion, resources, business knowledge, and vision to lead the National WATCH D.O.G.S. Program forward. Most importantly, he has the desire and the courage of his convictions.
It is my great pleasure to announce that the National WATCH D.O.G.S. organization is alive and well and moving to Austin, Texas under the leadership of Mr. Jim Walters!!
You won’t notice the move, but you will see a renewed effort to support the WD schools and parents as Jim and his team work hard to bring his vision to fruition and carry WATCH D.O.G.S. into its 25th anniversary in 2023, and beyond.
Please continue to do the amazing work you do for our kids through your WATCH D.O.G.S. programs and please continue to support Jim and his team as they carry on the vital work of this amazing one-of-a-kind program. Together we make a huge difference!
For every kid in America,
From Jim Walters, May 11, 2022
“Hope springs eternal.” This phrase is one of many that has carried me through the last couple of years of uncertainty. Community and connection have been such a large part of what I do and who I am for so long, that being unable to volunteer at the school, and seeing our children learning remotely was one of the more difficult times of my journey as a father.
I no longer knew my role. I could not be there for my community in the same way that I had long been known to. I know that many shared similar experiences with shifts in routine, isolation from family and neighbors, and witnessing and experiencing loss.
I leaned on the dads around me and they leaned on me as we grew closer together through that difficult time. I now find myself grateful for the lessons learned and the perspective gained. I see that hope coming to fruition.
As our children have returned to their classrooms, I’ve watched the
WATCH D.O.G.S. program flourish in our local school. I believe that this program is more important now than it has ever been and I’m eager to help see it grow in as many schools as possible. I believe we’ve found a message that is resonating with a new generation of fathers, inspiring them to prioritize time for service by supporting the school community for their own children and also for their peers.
When I received the news that the WATCH D.O.G.S. national office was closing, my initial response was sentimental as I wrap up my youngest daughter’s last year in elementary school after 15 years of serving through the program. That moment of reflection almost immediately gave way to a feeling of urgency and purpose and the same sense of hope that carried me through the last couple of years inspired me to seek out a conversation with Eric Snow. I found Eric to be very open to sharing his story and also listening to my own.
Since that day, I have quickly come to know one of the most generous, thoughtful, inspiring leaders of men I have had the pleasure of meeting; and in my lifetime I’ve had many great mentors.
To be trusted by Eric to carry on his work is among the greatest
honors I can imagine and a responsibility that I take very seriously.
I am grateful for this opportunity to work with and learn from other
program leaders around the country.
I know that I will not be on this journey alone. None of us are. The good men and the community that has shaped me as a leader are excited to support this program moving forward. I look forward to introducing many of them in time.
I am also eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get to know many of you, listen to your stories, and grow and serve together.
There is a lot of work to do, but I know we can do it together and continue to build upon the great foundation built by so many before us.
As a good man said, and I intend to often repeat…
“For every kid in America”