22 July 2007

Parent Volunteerism

--- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, Rebecca Hazlewood <hrebwrite@...>

Rebecca has shared these most EXCELLENT observations about
Parent Volunteerism & I wanted to make sure to echo her
thoughts and I totally agree.

I would like to suggest that there is a middle ground here on
parent's volunteering. Being a power parent isn't the only option.
For those parents who don't have the time for a lot of meetings one
of the most rewarding alternatives is working in your elementary
student's classroom (under the direction of the classroom teacher).
Usually elementary teachers like to have a core group of parents that
they can rely on for various projects such as the Bay Area Writing
Project; or Holiday projects etc. I found that if a parent gives a
set number of hours per week usually no more than 2 or 3; same time
each week this works for all; and one's kid is so proud to see
mommy or daddy at school. And, of course there are field trips. I
know at Harding that there was an outreach program to senior citizens
to enlist them as volunteers in the classroom and in the library. We
had a few volunteers and they were so good with the kids.

Another option is working in the school library. Since a part of the
library personnel is and always has been parent volunteers,
scheduling a set time every week is a big help. Usually each class
has only an hour a week in the library so parents don't have to
schedule much more time than that.

By the time your kids are in middle school your parent involvement
will change for a variety of reasons. But there are small committees
that a parent can get on that might take much less time than say
being on a PTA committee or a budget committee. And a parent can take
on a selective issue such as a broken drinking fountain (no kidding)
or dirty bathrooms. Lots of calls do the trick (at least for a little

In other words, there are lot's of little things that parents can do
on their own to improve their kid's school. But, there are many
families that cannot attend meetings. As a single parent I found too
many meetings really got in the way of good parenting. I needed to be
there with my children at night. Also, I was lucky to be in
accounting and always found that I could free up several hours a week
during the day to go to my kid's schools. But all parents aren't so

Affordability is another issue. For parents who are being paid hourly
every hour away from work is an hour lost. I think it is easy to
forget that many are struggling to earn enough money to pay for rent;
food and get the kids to school. I'm not a bleeding heart, but I am
much more sensitive to all these issues since I became a single
parent 15 years ago.

Rebecca Hazlewood

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