It may be uncommon to see fathers volunteering in their children’s schools, but Mr Danny Lee sees it as an important part of his children’s school-going experience.
In fact, he leads other dads in volunteering at his daughter’s school, CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel.
“I believe that for my children to thrive, it is important for me to be an engaged and supportive partner of the school,” the father of two explains. “It’s important that we prepare our children to be confident citizens of tomorrow and I feel that this can be achieved if the school and parents support each other.”
The 47-year-old project engineer has been actively volunteering at CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel since 2016, when his younger daughter, Ashlynn, enrolled in the school as a Primary One student. He is also the chairperson of the school’s Dads’ Club, a community of fathers under the Parents Support Group in the school.
Being part of the Parents Support Group gets Mr Lee involved in many aspects of school life, such as helping to set up and operate stalls at the school’s fund-raising event, taking on the role of an usher during school events and being a chaperone to children when they attend learning journeys outside of school. On top of that, Mr Lee works with the school’s leaders and advisors to coordinate and carry out meetings and activities with other Dads’ Club members.
While he has multiple commitments, Mr Lee still makes it a point to find time to get involved in school activities. How he does it - he has his family as his cheerleaders.
“I’m fortunate to have strong support from my wife and daughters,” he says. “My spouse Christine, who is also an active parent volunteer, is supportive of my role in running the Dads’ Club. She believes that dads have a lot to contribute and that we should move away from the stereotype that mothers run the Parents’ Support Group.”
Mr Lee has found that volunteering has improved his relationship with his children.
“I find it encouraging to see my father volunteering in school,” shares Ashlynn, who is now in Primary Three. “He’s busy at work and helps out with chores at home as well. So when I see him planning activities and attending Dads’ Club meetings despite his busy schedule, I know I mean something to him.”
Giving back and gaining more
While the Parents’ Support Group activities may appear to have parents providing their help and services to the school, Mr Lee professes to have had gained much more from the experience.
“It’s been a great privilege to work with children. Engaging with them during our activities allowed me to have a better understanding of their perspectives,” he shares. “Interacting with other parent volunteers also gave us the opportunity to share and learn from our different life and work experiences and parenting issues, and to render support to those in need. Working with educators and school administrators also enabled me to understand their challenges. It’s been a humbling experience.”