Wellington dads band together to become more involved in school community

The Lyall Bay Dads Group - which was formed more than a year ago - has now firmly cemented itself as a fixture in the ...
EMMA DUNLOP-BENNETT

The Lyall Bay Dads Group - which was formed more than a year ago - has now firmly cemented itself as a fixture in the school community.

A community event has helped shine a light on the hard work a group of dads from Wellington's Lyall Bay School has been doing to be more involved in school life.

After 18 months the ranks of the Lyall Bay Dads Club have been growing exponentially, and they have become a mainstay in the school community. 

Club co-founder Shaun Chait​ said the idea for the group came after he noticed that most of the school mums "seemed to know each other and be quite well-connected", but the same couldn't be said for the dads.

More than 350 people attended the inaugural 'Good in the Hood' event held by the Lyall Bay Dads Club.
EMMA DUNLOP-BENNETT

More than 350 people attended the inaugural 'Good in the Hood' event held by the Lyall Bay Dads Club.

"There were very few dads around the school and the ones that did come were all heads down, drop their kids off and go.

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"It occurred to us that a lot of the dads didn't get to do drop-offs that often and the ones that did didn't feel comfortable or have anyone to talk to."
The free event was a chance for the club to give back to the school community and give everyone a fun day out.
KIRSTIE LESTER

The free event was a chance for the club to give back to the school community and give everyone a fun day out.

Along with Ruka Rarere and Steve Walters, he decided to establish a club and host fortnightly get-togethers.

"It's about getting the dads involved and connected to learn more about who your neighbours are and through that become more involved in the school."

From the initial meeting, interest in the collective snowballed, which Chait said was a testament to the need for dads to be involved.

"We just feel that in order to connect the community and make it stronger, we needed the involvement of all the people in the community - dads included. We wanted to tap into that and join the dots really."

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The group had since expanded their offerings, including the establishment of a touch team with 16 members.

Chait said families often attended games and the communal meal afterwards.

An example of the way the group gets involved is the large-scale fair they recently organised for Lyall Bay School pupils and their families.

The Good In The Hood event attracted more than 350 people and Chait said he fielded several inquiries from other dads keen to join the group and help out the school.

"This is not a fundraiser or way to make money – our motivations in doing this are only to bring our local community closer together."

For now, Chait planned to keep the group's membership exclusive to Lyall Bay School dads, but he was happy to offer advice to others wanting to establish something similar for the betterment of their own school communities.

 - Stuff

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