Volunteering at school takes many forms

Published 10:02 am Saturday, February 16, 2019

By Jeff Roland

Banfield Elementary Principal

I am often asked by parents throughout the school year if Banfield (or any school) “needs” anything.  Parents tell me that they would like to volunteer to bring in items needed by students.  The conversation usually centers around student or classroom supplies.  We are always in need of extra student classroom supplies.  Any school will gladly accept you volunteering to donate items that are consumable and are constantly used through the year.

Jeff Roland, Banfield Elementary principal

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The obvious response to what can I volunteer to donate is time and money. These two items are always welcomed and always needed.  Volunteering in the classroom is what people usually think of.  You can’t go wrong by volunteering your time and your money.  But not everyone can be away from work on a regular basis and that level of volunteering is hard to accommodate.  But there are other “needs” your volunteering can address.  Ways not usually or normally associated with schools.

One way to volunteer in a more non-traditional manner is to send slightly used, clean student sized clothing to your school nurse.  There is always a need for replacement clothing due to getting sick at school, wet during recess, spilling in the cafeteria.  With a ready supply of clothes, our nurses can get the students into clean, dry clothes and back to the classroom in just a few minutes.  Plus, the students feel a lot better and are more productive for the remainder of the day in dry clothes.

Another way to volunteer your resources is by donating to or helping to pack the food backpacks that go home on Fridays.  A call to the Success Coach housed at each school can give you an idea of what food items or personal hygiene items are needed or when help would be appreciated.

Participating in your school’s Parent/Teacher Committee (PTC) is another great way to volunteer.  Meetings are usually scheduled for after school hours so not to conflict with the working day of parents.  There are even special event volunteering opportunities parents can take advantage of if a monthly meeting isn’t to your liking.  A call to your school’s PTC board members is all it takes.

And if you are fortunate to be able to get away for a half day or full day, volunteer to go along as a chaperone on your student’s field trip.  I can’t promise a quiet, leisurely ride to and from, but what a great way to volunteer in your student’s classroom and a wonderful way to share the experience of the field trip outside of school with your child.

Everybody is busy nowadays.  Work, vocations, sports, events, church, family responsibilities.  And disposable money can be tight.  But there are still many ways you can volunteer at your school – and a lot of the opportunities are in non-traditional forms.  I hope you are able to take advantage of a different type of volunteering.  And it can start as simply as a phone call to your school’s office for more information.