Volunteering can help our youth

By | Published Thursday, April 22, 2010

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We are all busy. As parents of babies, toddlers and school-aged kids, we run ourselves ragged with diapers, bottles, learning toys, alphabet songs, baseball games, projects and (I see this one coming) social drama. In addition to the normal workings of our everyday, we coach baseball teams, we teach Sunday school classes, we run Girl Scout meetings, and we sign up to be cookie mom for the party. We volunteer our time and our money every day to our kids, and to their childhood.

But, we can do more.

We can volunteer in our schools and in our community. We can be servant leaders and pass along that message of civic duty to our children. We can show them the importance of community service, volunteerism and making a difference.

Melonie Christian, principal at Rann Elementary, outlined many ways to help teachers and staff daily, weekly and throughout the year. While some of these programs are specific to elementary school, the themes carry throughout high school. Our kids want our time, and our schools need our dedication.

  • Read with students. Beginning in kindergarten, teachers need help sitting individually with students while they read aloud. They test our students’ reading levels throughout the year and need extra manpower during those specific times.
  • Watch D.O.G.S. This program specifically involves dads in the everyday running of the school. Dads volunteer one day to spend in classes, work the lunchroom, help in the library, and be a positive influence on kids.
  • Junior Achievement. Business volunteers become certified to teach economic lessons to classes once a week for six weeks at a time.
  • Book Fair/Jump Rope for Heart/Fun Run/Carnivals. These are specific events that require extra manpower as they happen. Teachers and staff always need help with set-up, running the event, and of course, clean up.
  • Career Day. Teachers set up career days in many of the campuses and are always looking for eager guest speakers to enlighten our kids in a variety of career paths.
  • Sponsorship. Our schools hope to engage our students with active lessons and field trips to enhance those lessons. To ensure the participation of all students, sometimes it is necessary to give financial aid to those in need, and by sponsoring a student or two for a field trip or camping trip, we make sure that participation level is met.
  • Gardening. We all hear about budget cuts in school, and sometimes that means the flowerbeds and butterfly gardens become neglected. Spending a few hours digging, weeding and planting might seem trivial, but beautiful campuses and happy butterflies can make any child smile.
  • General Classroom Support. Teachers need about 26 hours in every 24-hour period as they plan, produce and provide amazing lessons to our kids. Offering to help cut, copy and laminate things for lessons makes a huge difference in maintaining a healthy level of sanity for any teacher, in any grade level.
  • As parents, one of our responsibilities is teaching our children respect in all areas. Community respect is just one facet of that, and one that can be taught easily while cutting out numbers and letters for a kindergarten teacher while watching TV with the family, or speaking to a class full of students about their future careers.

    I grew up listening to the wise words of an old bear, and his words ring true even in my adult life. He said, “A little Consideration, a little Thought for others, makes all the difference.” – Winnie the Pooh

    And, I believe he is exactly right.

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