Whether it’s the beginning of the year, the holidays or the end of the year there are always a need for parents to volunteer their time and talents to their child’s school. Many parents hesitate to volunteer their talents, because they simply think there isn’t the time. But with a well organized schedule, excellent communication between the schools, teachers, parents and volunteers; volunteering to help at your child’s school can be easy and enjoyable.
Many parents would agree with Karen Bantuveris, Founder & CEO, VolunteerSpot, “It’s our responsibility as parents to help out in any way we can.” As a parent, Karen knows first-hand how difficult it is for parents to balance a busy work, family and volunteer schedule can be. That’s one of the reasons why she created VolunteerSpot.com.
What is VolunteerSpot? It is an online service that is free and offers parents, volunteers, teachers and schools the opportunity to smoothly create opportunities, delegate tasks, brainstorm ideas, collect and share information as well as stay on track with their volunteer schedule. Karen continues, “VolunteerSpot’s free coordination tool makes it easy for any parent or teacher to create online signup sheets, for any reason: classroom helpers and parties, parents to help supervise in the cafeteria and library, and important fundraisers like school carnivals, walk-a-thons, book fairs, bake sales and stadium concessions stands. By making it easier for parents to sign up to help (just a few clicks) and sending automated reminders, more parents show up to help – and that’s good for our schools and our kids!”
Many parents ask, “But what can I do?” There are so many things that a parent can do to support the volunteer efforts at their son or daughter’s school. Try any one of these:
Read to your child’s class.
Chaperone a field trip.
Help with an Art or Science Fair.
Assist with special events like parties, picture day, holiday events, and fairs.
Volunteer in the office to make copies, answer phones, grade papers or even do “cut outs” or reshelf books in the library.
Donate supplies – when those notes come home from school that a teacher needs plastic silverware or tissue paper – pick up some when you do your grocery shopping.
Participate in your school fundraisers. These programs help to pay for critical technology, sports equipment and supplies. If you can’t afford to donate cash or to make that extra purchase consider a donation of your time to help with the school carnival, book fair or bake-sale. Pull out your address book and invite your neighbors, coworkers and local businesses to support your school as well.
Share your strengths. If you’re artistic, offer to help with the art program or make cool signs to jazz up the classroom; if you’re musical, lead songs at the class party or perform with your kids at the carnival; scientific or techy, help plan a science day or assist with experiments and share computer skills with the class, or if you are a writer help with the school newsletters or offer an after school seminar to up and coming authors and journalist.
If you don’t have time during the day, offer to grade papers at home, do prep work for the next day or record grades for the teacher. This gives her an evening off, and we all know how important that can be.
What are the benefits of parent volunteers?
Your kids love seeing you at school and it shows you value their education.
The more successful our children are in school the more confident and successful they will be in other aspects of their lives. According to one study, “Children whose parents are involved in their formal education have many advantages. They have better grades, test scores, long-term academic achievement, attitudes, and behavior than those with disinterested mothers and fathers.” (Anne T. Henderson 1988)
“A Stanford study found that using parents as tutors brought significant and immediate changes in children’s I.Q. scores. Other research projects found that community involvement correlated strongly with school wide achievement and that all forms of parent involvement helped student achievement.” (ERIC Digest)
Children with parents who are involved in school are likely to complete school, lowering the changes of school drop outs and truancy. They consistently complete their homework, have better self esteem, and often parental involvement also results in less disciplinary measures.
Not only are children going to be more involved, excited and higher performing seeing friends and families being actively involved in their education, but parents will also find many personal benefits. They will gain knowledge about their child’s school and education, as well as about their own expectations for their children. Parental perceptions are changed by the involvement and they build stronger ties with the school.
When asked for some advice for parents regarding volunteering, Founder & CEO, VolunteerSpot Karen Bantuveris offers, “Only sign up for things you know you can commit to. Participating is great, over participating and being stressed about it is not.” I would agree, most importantly don’t over extend yourself, or like many parents you may end up feeling over burdened with all your activities.
Some parents don’t know what talents to volunteer and others think there simply isn’t the time to volunteer. The good news is that there is a service like VolunteerSpot that helps by making it easier for more parents to get involved at school with both ideas and tools to help them with their time and talents.
Want to become more involved in your child’s middle school education? Find helpful tips and information in Four Proven Techniques for Parental Involvement in Middle School. Wish you could volunteer and work with your school to go “green consider these Ideas for School Districts Teachers, Parents, and Community.
Interview with Karen Bantuveris, Founder & CEO, VolunteerSpot