Parenting: Volunteering - a part of parenting

September 2, 2010

In the Spring, my project was organizing ticket sales for the Elementary School carnival, a community event and fundraiser for the Home and School Association.

It can be hard for working parents to find time and opportunities to volunteer for school activities. I can't be a Homeroom Mom or Lunch Aide, because you need to be at school during the day for those jobs. Parents help build sets for school shows - but that's usually done between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. - also times when I'm still at work. But since my boys started school, I've always found there are some volunteer jobs that working parents can squeeze in around their work schedules. And I think it's very important volunteer for those jobs, for several reasons.

First, I find that working with other parents keeps me "in the loop." At carnival meetings, or in the stands at football games, I find out all sorts of things about the school community, the boys and their friends, that I might not know about otherwise. Plus, I get to know other parents, which makes it easier for all of us to keep an eye out on all of our kids. As they say, "It takes a Village…"

Second, I think volunteering, in general, is important. And by volunteering for activities at the boys' schools, I set a good example of how we all should contribute to our communities. Jason is now an officer at the high school, and has spent the past several mornings making breakfasts for administrators, teachers and freshman who've come to tour the new building. So, I guess, in some small way, my example has paid off.

Finally, it's another way that I can show the boys that what's important to them is important to me. I could volunteer for all different kinds of organizations (and I do), but the fact that I dedicate so many of my volunteer hours to supporting them and their school community serves as a reminder that their education is important, their school community is important, and by extension, THEY are important. And according to Scholastic.com (http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1400) kids whose parents volunteer in school do better academically than kids whose parents don't volunteer.

As the school year starts, PTA's will be sending home letters asking for parent volunteers. It's easy to say you're too busy. But I think the rewards for putting in the time are well worth it, for parents and kids.

Another article on volunteering in your kids' school: http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/school.html

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