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Volunteering Benefits Our Community

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 11:35AM

More staff at elementary schools is needed across the country, as budgets are cut, teachers are laid off and young children require more attention. Some schools are so overwhelmed they don't even have the time to recruit the volunteers they so desperately need. You or someone you know may be able to help by volunteering time in one of our local schools.

People of all ages have the power to change their neighborhoods, their communities, and the world. You don't need a degree, just a willingness to help. According to a recent AARP article, here are some areas where teachers need the most help:

1. Adults are great volunteers for helping children with learning letter sounds, building vocabulary and reading. Be a tutor. Working one-on-one with a student on math, reading, or any other subject can tremendously help students who are one or two grade levels behind. A caring adult sitting by a child as they read and then discussing the book with them is an ideal situation to promote reading.  Just working with them can add that extra push they need to achieve.

2. Talking about your career and what or who you believe made you successful in life. Maybe even add things you would have done differently.

3. Bring history to life for children by telling them a story of where you were and what it was really like to live through a defining experience of your lifetime, sharing photographs if possible, or newspaper clippings, or reading a letter you wrote or one you received from another person, especially if it's a local experience or well-known historical event. Older students also love to hear about a time when you met a historical or political person, athlete, or artist.

4. Let the student become the teacher. A volunteer who is willing to learn computer skills from a child helps reinforces skills they learned in class and can instill a sense of giving back.

5. Volunteers are always needed for extracurricular activities. What's your hobby or passion, or something you succeeded at in the past? Adults can help run a chess club, book club, art class or other activity, and help coordinate events associated with them. For example, someone with a love for the environment could coordinate a clean- up at the school or nearby stream, river, or park. As part of that, you could help children plant native plants and explain how these plants help the area. Someone who loves theater, music or film could assist with plays, performances or screening events.

6. Developing even a slight relationship with a child who has only one parent or does not have grandparents can be a stabilizing factor in his or her life and can help a student succeed, socially and educationally.

7. Men, whether brothers, fathers or grandfathers are desperately needed. They can help break up fights, talk to the boys, play basketball with them or help them deal with a bully.

8. If you don't care to work directly with children, offer your career skills to the school. There is plenty of work you can do at home with a computer or in your spare time around campus.

Parents and guardians often have huge demands of their time as they try to provide for their families, and volunteers can help fill part of this essential role by helping out at schools. Your Daytona Beach attorneys offer this and other volunteer opportunities in our area, for your consideration. Visit VolunteerMatch for other openings, and help make a difference, starting with your neighborhood. 

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