Volunteers Make a Difference

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Volunteers Make a Difference

by, Jill Katrin

On a daily basis, school volunteers can be seen in every classroom helping with a variety of activities. They enhance the academic growth of students, foster self-esteem and establish a sense of belonging as well. Students lives are enriched by the special talents shared of our volunteers. Volunteers bring tremendous cultural and experiential diversity. Classroom studies spring to life when volunteers share their experiences and talents with students. Our community volunteers are touching the lives of many impressionable children by reaching out and helping them learn. As U.S. Secretary of Education, Richard W. Riley, states: The American family is the rock on which a solid education can be built. If families teach the love of learning, it can make all the difference in the world to their children. Volunteers help our schools build a solid educational foundation for all our students.

Family structures, stresses, and daily pressures have dramatically changed over the past years. Todays parents are making a serious effort to actively be a part of their childrens school experiences. The key is to view yourself as a partner in your childrens education. The opportunities of involvement are endless. Family involvement can be as simple as asking your children how their school day was, and if they have any homework. Asking them every day will send your children the clear message that their schoolwork is important. A great way to be involved with what your children are learning in school is to go over your childrens work with them when they bring it home. This reinforces what your children are learning in school.

Modeling the importance of reading in your home is one of the most valuable ways to promote the love of learning in your childrens lives. Read aloud with your children taking turns by paragraph or page. Together you may find some enjoyable books that will lead to conversations. Finding newspaper articles on a particular topic and reading them with your children is another way to impact their learning. Reading to your children before they go to sleep is a great way to end the day.

School-family partnerships are important ways to help children learn and a great way for schools and families to help each other. Some possible ways to volunteer in the classroom are listening to children read, reading to children, book discussions, and helping students with classroom assignments. Career talks and sharing hobbies, talents, travels, and collections are valuable ways to contribute. Helping with classroom learning centers, assisting with computers and hands-on Science lessons, and helping with special projects or activities are other possible opportunities. Volunteers are also needed to help with Music and Drama productions, Art and Science fairs, book fairs, and field trips.

The following poem by an unknown author sums up how valuable volunteers in our school are:


I dreamed I stood in a studio

And watched two sculptors there.

The clay they used was a young

childs mind.

And they fashioned it with care.

One was a teacher; the tools

he used

Were books and music and art.

One a parent with a guiding hand

And a gentle loving heart.

Day after day the teacher toiled

With touch that was deft and sure,

While the parent labored by his side

And polished and smoothed it oer.

And when at last their task was done,

They were proud of what they

had wrought.

for the things they had molded into

the child

Could neither be sold nor bought.

And each agreed he would

have failed

if he had worked alone,

For behind the parent stood

the school

And behind the teacher the home.

-- Anonymous, December 23, 1998

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