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Learning Matters: VW Dads' Club gears up for 'Fathers' Follies'

May 02, 2014|By Joylene Wagner

It's May, the month for celebrating Mother's Day, Teachers Appreciation Day and Classified Staff Appreciation Day.

For many local PTA leaders, it's also the month for the California State PTA convention, when PTA representatives from many of our schools devote a few days away from their children and spouses as well as school and work responsibilities, to learn how they might better support not only their own children but all children.

Most of the convention delegates are moms, though the ranks of dads in PTA leadership have grown over the years. Over the last two years, three or four school PTAs have been led by dads. So this month, I celebrate all moms everywhere, the moms and dads of PTA and all those who work on behalf of children.

But in this column I want to focus on a particular group of PTA moms and dads — especially the dads. It's a group of parents who over the last six decades have experienced one of the most effective and enduring outcomes of active parent participation: The personal relationships among parents and teachers, formed while joined in action in service to children — joined, in this case, in acting.

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Today, I applaud the Verdugo Woodlands Dads' Club, those fearless men of "Fathers' Follies" and the moms behind the scenes.

Of all 30 Glendale schools, Verdugo Woodlands Elementary (lovingly referred to as "VW" by "Woodlanders") is unique in having the support of both a facility — a building next door to the school, adjacent to Babe Herman Field — and an organization like the Dads' Club.

As its website, http://www.vwdadsclub.com, points out, it is a completely separate entity from the school. But the Dads' Club and what they do there are instrumental in making VW the community it is.

In addition to serving as the rehearsal room for VW's chorus, orchestra and events such as the pancake breakfast, the Dads' Club is host to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Little League and other youth-serving organizations.

Les Harrison, whose two grown children went through VW, describes the Dads' Club as "a place to share what it means to be a dad by just being a dad."

The sign that hangs on the back wall of the club showcases the motto, "Our kids, our community, our commitment" and enshrines the noble hope of the fathers who banded together to build it in 1957: "May this building stand as a reminder that confidence, courage and cooperation can produce much for people who want to help themselves."

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