Men will serve as pupils' mentors

File/Staff
Sgt. Richard Roundtree is leading Dads in Action, a group of male mentors.

Some Richmond County students don't get a chance to see positive male role models on a regular basis. Dads in Action -- Making Schools Better seeks to fill that void.

 

This group of male mentors will begin work at Tubman, Morgan Road and Glenn Hills middle schools this fall, said Richmond County Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Roundtree, the chairman of the group.

With about 25 men already signed up, Sgt. Roundtree said he hopes that dozens more can be recruited to the organization this summer.

"Sometimes the only males they see are the janitors," member Kenny White said. "The youth is in a crisis, so just being there, just seeing a positive male figure would make the difference."

Georgia PTA began The Dads in Schools Initiative statewide early this year, said Barbara Seigler, the president of the Richmond County Council of PTAs. In April, the program was approved for Richmond County.

"The male involvement is needed nationwide," Ms. Seigler said. "Hopefully, we'll see more parental involvement and more positive people that want to be involved in the schools."

Though the title caters to fathers, Sgt. Roundtree said he doesn't want to limit the group just to men who are parents.

The group plans to start at the three middle schools and branch out to additional schools throughout the year, he said.

The men are now developing a logo and hope to raise awareness and funds for the program this summer.

Mr. White said he worked with the 100 Black Men of Ohio in Columbus, so he has seen the firsthand the effect Dads in Action could have.

"These (young) males are starving for attention," he said. "I think we could show them to keep hope alive."

The "dads" would be tutoring, helping teachers and assessing any other needs at each school, Sgt. Roundtree said.

Kelvin Apparicio said his 25 years in the Army and his 20 years as a father of six have prepared him for the program. He said he can't wait to suit up as a dad in action.

"We just want to let kids know to study hard and set goals to be successful," he said. "They need to know that men care about that happening."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

TO GET INVOLVED

Dads in Action will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Law Enforcement Center, 401 Walton Way. For more information, contact Richard Roundtree at rroundtree@augustaga.gov.