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Recreation Coach Promotes Fatherly Involvement In Emerson School

Rich Solimando and Kristy Friedman are helping introduce Watch D.O.G.S. at Emerson Memorial School.
Rich Solimando and Kristy Friedman are helping introduce Watch D.O.G.S. at Emerson Memorial School. Photo Credit: Anthony Locicero
Watch D.O.G.S featured on ABC World News with Charles Gibson
Watch D.O.G.S featured on ABC World News with Charles Gibson Video Credit: National Center for Fathering

EMERSON, N.J.– A “Dad and Kids Pizza Night” to celebrate the launch of a group that promotes fatherly involvement in education is set for Wednesday at Emerson Jr./Sr. High School.

Borough resident Rich Solimando established WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), open to fathers, stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers and other male adult figures who will assist with arrival, dismissal and recess.

They will also spend time in the classrooms, reading to students or providing extra supervision.

“Having another set of eyes, especially in today’s society, is a good thing,” said Councilman Brian Downing.

Kristy Friedman, the school representative, will get each participant checked in, provide nametags and schedules and arrange photos with students who participate in the program.

Fathers' roles have changed in today's two-income homes, Memorial School Principal Jessica Espinoza said.

“This is an opportunity for dads to be involved in a very prescriptive, laid out way,” she said.

Solimando hoped 50 fathers and students would join -- and got 90.

“I see a change,” said Solimando, a recreation coach and father of two. “I see more fathers being involved.

"For a dad to take time out of his day to visit his kid at school, that makes a kid think, ‘I’m well worth it.’”

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