Orange Beach United Methodist Church’s children’s ministry has exploded over the past few years with hundreds of children participating in the program. Soon, church leaders struggled to …
Orange Beach United Methodist Church’s children’s ministry has exploded over the past few years with hundreds of children participating in the program. Soon, church leaders struggled to find volunteers.
Tyler Vittetoe, the missions ministry coordinator, decided to change that.
“Men sometimes have trouble seeing the open door or finding the place they can be the most helpful. That is why I decided to start the Dad Squad to make it official to the men that this is your opportunity to help,” Vittetoe said.
The program had 35 women volunteers and no men. Vittetoe reached out to some of the parents whose children participated in the children’s ministry. The first week 15 dads signed up. The next week, Vittetoe got a call from Orange Beach Elementary Principal Mary Catherine Law asking for more information about the Dad Squad.
“The elementary school had the same need, not enough men present being positive role models for the boys in the school. That is how we jumped over and now have over 30 men looking to serve. It has been a really cool opportunity to see the response and excitement about it,” Vittetoe said.
The Dad Squad visits Orange Beach Elementary every Friday to relieve teachers on lunch duty. The group also helps with a range of needs including reviewing multiplication facts with students, mentoring and classroom projects.
“The Dad Squad’s presence is already making a difference,” Law said. “They are helping with lunch duty, building relationships with kids, mentoring and providing support.
“We had a new student that was having a difficult time adjusting. I reached out to Tyler and asked if someone from the Dad Squad would be willing to mentor this student. We are excited to have more male role models on campus that will have a positive influence on students,” Law said.
The Dad Squad has already started to receive messages from thankful parents and Vittetoe said he hopes the program continues to gain volunteer dads and do more in the elementary school. He also said he hopes other schools in Baldwin County and nationwide start programs like Dad Squad.
“I am sure our community is not the only one where dads are looking for opportunities to be a part of something. Wherever this goes I am going to be excited that more dads are making a positive impact in the school system,” Vittetoe said.