Fort Myers Pool Builder Hopes to Bring Engaged Dads Together at Watch D.O.G.S. Event
Joe Mitchell, president of Pool Pros, Inc of Fort Myers who introduced the Watch D.O.G.S. program to Lee County Schools in 2010, hopes January 12th basketball event will bring together engaged dads and students.
FORT MYERS, FLORIDA (December 27, 2018) – This holiday season, children all around the U.S. are climbing over mountains of presents as the hysteria of holiday shopping has culminated with Christmas. But one local dad in Southwest Florida believes in the old adage “Children don’t want your presents. They want your presence.”
“Don’t get me wrong, my kids still love receiving gifts,” says Joe Mitchell. “But they love spending quality time with loved ones even more.”
Mitchell, a father of two, founder of Pools Pros, and community leader has learned from first-hand experience that most children appreciate spending time with positive role models. In 2010, he discovered a program called Watch D.O.G.S (Dads of Great Students). According to the organization’s website:
“WATCH D.O.G.S. is one of the nation’s largest and most respected school-based, family, and community engagement, organizations in the country. Since the program’s creation in 1998, more than 6,450 schools across the country have launched a WATCH D.O.G.S. program of their own. Each school year hundreds of thousands of fathers and father-figures make a positive impact on millions of children by volunteering millions of hours in their local schools through this amazing one-of-a-kind program. Who are WatchDOGS? Fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles, and other father figures who volunteer to serve at least one day a year in a variety of school activities as assigned by the school principal or other administrator.”
In 2010 Mitchell introduced the program to Heights Elementary school administrators who loved the idea and immediately got on board.
“My kids Stellen and Finley were in elementary school at the time and I wanted to spend more time with them,” said Mitchell. “As it turns out, I enjoyed spending time with lots of other kids at Heights Elementary. Greeting them in the car line, helping them with their straws at lunch-time, spending time assisting with PE and field days…there are so many things we get to help them with. It’s such a rewarding experience for both students and D.O.G.S.”
Mitchell’s children now attend Cypress Lake Middle School, which also has welcomed the program. it is especially effective for kids who just want a male they can talk to and those without fathers as positive male role models.
As of December 2018, the Watch D.O.G.S program has taken root in 13 schools in Lee County with financial assistance from the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce (also known as the Education Chamber). In addition, it has welcomed several honorary Watch D.O.G.S to the program including Mayor Randy Henderson, Sheriff Mike Scott, Robert Van Winkle of NBC-2 News, Superintendent of Lee County Schools Greg Adkins, Fort Myers High Athletic Director Carl McAloose, and former running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Earnest Graham, among others.
One way the program is encouraging local men to bond with kids is by partnering with the Florida SouthWestern State College Buccaneers at an event called Watch Dog Day at the Game on Saturday, January 12, 2019.
At the Suncoast Credit Union Arena, there will be a basketball double header featuring:
- FSW’s Women’s Basketball Team vs. Trinity College at 2pm and
- FSW’s Men’s Basketball Team vs. Victory Rock at 4pm
All dads and students are invited and are instructed to identify themselves at the ticket office to pick up complementary tickets.
ABOUT POOL PROS INC
Pool Pros is a swimming pool construction company based in Fort Myers, Florida. It’s founder, Joe Mitchell is the current president of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and community leader who: helps local students bring up their grades, awards scholarships to local athletes, helps raise funds for education, and sponsors an annual golf tournament to benefit the Education Chamber.