Hello future parent volunteer! Let’s talk about ways you get involved with your kid’s school.
Whether this is your kids’ first year of school or their senior year, you will have plenty of opportunities to volunteer your time, skills, and knowledge to the school… Our house received our first volunteer requests when we started kindergarten. I volunteered as a floater for field day and helped corral the kiddos to each station, escorted kids to the bathroom, supplied water, and passed out food. My child still talks about how much he loved having me there. Below are a few of the things I consider before I sign-up for an opportunity with the school.
3 Things to consider before you volunteer:
- What are your strengths, skills, or interest? Every parent has a special set of skills that could be useful at your school’s next event. Do you enjoy organizing things? – set up for a special event could be great for you. Are you a natural leader? – your school’s parent-teacher association could be a great fit. Do you love to run? – host a running club like Girls on the Run or Kilometer Kids.
- How much time can you commit? Be realistic about how much time you can commit and what works best for your schedule. Do you have more availability in the mornings or the evenings? If you work full time, check with your job and see if they have special flex time or educational leave that you can use for volunteering at your child’s school. At a previous job we had access to 8 hours of educational leave that could be applied to any educational activities for our child, check your benefits and see what is available to you.
- Is it required or encouraged? At our school volunteering is encouraged, but not required. But, some schools require parents to commit a certain number of volunteer hours as part of your commitment to the school and the community. Be aware of what your school requirements are.
Opportunities to Get Involved
It won’t be long before you get your first email about volunteer opportunities at the school. You have already considers your strengths and availability, now it’s time to consider some of the opportunities your school might offer. This next section breaks down potential opportunities as long-term, short-term, and event-based.
Long-Term Volunteers: These are the opportunities that could last the entire school year.
- School Parent Teacher Association
- Committee Member
- Room Parent
Short-Term Volunteers: These are those commitments that last for a semester, quarter, or other length of time less than a school year. If you have a more flexible schedule or have a specialty skill set these could be great opportunities for you.
- Club Volunteer
- Sports Concessions/Tickets
- Fundraising/Booster Club
Event-Based Volunteers: These are your “pop-up” events that are generally one-time or re-occurring events with low time commitment (2-4 hours). These types of events usually have shifts with negotiable timeslots and include tasks like set up, breakdown, ticket sales, or concessions. These are great for the 1st time volunteers or for those of us with very limited availability.
- Mystery reader
- Field trips
- Book Fair
- School Beautification Projects
- Service/Skill Donation (create your own niche opportunity)
Some of my favorite volunteer activities have been setting up for the book fair, setting up for the Fall Festival, and floater/volunteering at field day. One of our parents had experience with grant writing and helped us secure additional funding. Another parent has a party planning/decorating business and volunteered to create balloon arches at an event. Volunteering at your kid’s school is a great way to meet the administrators, and other parents, and be a part of your school’s community.
So remember, if the idea of chaperoning a field trip makes you feel anxious, there are plenty of other ways to get involved at your kid’s school. Consider your strengths, interest, and time constraints to find the opportunity that is best for you. Whether you prefer to lead, organize, or complete a specific task, your kid’s school has an exciting volunteer opportunity for you!
What are some of your favorite ways to stay involved in your kid’s school? Comment below with your ideas.