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Friday, March 25, 2011

I said I wouldn't Do It...

Since the kids had started to attend their current school, I have always helped at the Fall and the Spring Book Fairs.

It's a fun experience. Especially when you are working in the "store" with the kids from Pre-Kindergarten, through the Second Grades. They need the most help to navigate the areas, to write down what they wish to purchase and then actually help them make their purchases. It's very hands-on, one-on-one work.

But in reality, it's fun to see EVERY child from every grade level come in to the Book Fair and show their enthusiasm for their love of reading. I don't care if it's a "Pokemon" book or a "Clifford The Big Red Dog" book, or a trivia book. Reading is reading.

This year though, I had planned on taking a break for the entire year from doing the Book Fair. I'd gotten out of doing the Fall Book Fair, seeing as the school's PTO Board ran it this year.

And so I was just going to bow out and let others help run the Spring Book Fair as to give me a break from doing it a fourth year in a row.

No luck.

There aren't enough volunteers to help with the entire week's run. Even though when doing the Volunteer paperwork at the beginning of the year, we had several sign up to help with Book Fairs this school year. But most, if not all, backed out, even though they had ample notice of the dates to choose from as to help out.

Believe me, volunteering at a school's Book Fair is NOT easy. It's time consuming and even physically demanding. Especially when dealing with the little kids of the school. It takes time for them to look around and pick. They have SO many "favorites" and love so many different topics at the ages of four to seven, that it makes your head want to spin and pop off.

Between this year and last school year, I've noticed a decent decline in the number of volunteers that ACTIVELY volunteer at my childrens' school. There are even some people who are signed up to do tasks AT HOME. Like cutting out soup labels and box tops.

But it's becoming an alarming trend there, and most likely around the community's other schools, if not most everywhere in the school system, that when you "call upon" the volunteers that signed all the paperwork and went through the background checks to be an approved volunteer (yes, I to MUST have a BG Check every year) and ask to be called upon for which tasks that they signed up for, that they suddenly back out when you need them.

So my question is... Why sign up to be a School Volunteer in the first place? You are not only hurting us Volunteer Coordinators, but also the school staff (mainly teachers) and those kids. And ANYTHING, no matter how little or seemingly insignificant goes a LONG way. We (in our school's setting) have something for EVERYONE where volunteering is concerned. Even for those that speak a foreign language.

Next week will be MUCH busier than I wanted to have it be. Instead of my one day per week, I get to be there at least for three days of the week. The entire school day. So I'll easily pull in about 21 to about 32 hours of volunteering time next week alone. Depending on if I have to pull an extra day.

I urge you all to volunteer in your community. Be it at a school, a soup kitchen, the hospital or anywhere else that there are volunteering opportunities. You can't imagine how good it feels to know that you have touched someone's life.

To see the smiles on the faces of the children that I work with, especially during Reading groups when they "get it", correct THEMSELVES or read the entire book flawlessly (we are talking about KINDERGARTNER'S people!) it makes everything I do seem effortless and like I have helped them achieve.

Because believe me, copying those books and putting them all together for each of the four groups is NO fun and (literally for me) back breaking.

So to see all of OUR hard work (my putting books together, and them learning how to read them independently) makes it all worth while.

5 comments:

Mommy said...

I totally agree with you about volunteering. I use to volunteer work growing up all the time in nursing homes and as a candy striper in my local hospital. When I graduated high school I even went abroad to do volunteer work in Costa Rica with a program called cross cultural solutions. Such an amazing experience. It really feels good helping others. Unfortunately lately I haven't done much volunteer work because my life has been pretty hectic with working full time, grad school, and raising a toddler. But when things settle down and definately when Emma's a bit older I want us to do volunteer work together!

My Adventures in Mommyland

Chrissy said...

Because of cuts in our school district, our library teacher changes schools every two weeks, which didn't give her the time to do last year's fall book fair! So I volunteered to chair it (due to the lack of helpers) and now I will be doing the Spring book fair as well...it is really hard work and very time consuming! I will be there all week, everyday, all day long...ugh...but, if I wouldn't do it, book fair would have to be cancelled and that would be awful! The kids love it so much! At least I will have some moms helping me in 2 shifts...have fun at your book fair!
Happy Friday!

Chrissy said...

Because of cuts in our school district, our library teacher changes schools every two weeks, which didn't give her the time to do last year's fall book fair! So I volunteered to chair it (due to the lack of helpers) and now I will be doing the Spring book fair as well...it is really hard work and very time consuming! I will be there all week, everyday, all day long...ugh...but, if I wouldn't do it, book fair would have to be cancelled and that would be awful! The kids love it so much! At least I will have some moms helping me in 2 shifts...have fun at your book fair!
Happy Friday!

Slidecutter said...

It seems that in too many organizations, it's always the same people doing all the volunteering.

When my three were younger, and in a small local parish school, in a snobby, wealthy community, I helped form a parent organization, was a board member and started orchestrating various fund-raising projects.

Well, the excuses for not being able to help just poured in but...those same non-supporters would always be the first to complain if they didn't approve of an event.

Good for you and all those parents who get involved..it does make such a huge difference!

Patty

Diana said...

I always have fun volunteering at my childrens schools. Well did, they are grown now and the one that is in H.S. has enough volunteers. I think I'd like to volunteer in a hospital or nursing home. It would be fun to spread a little happiness!
Love Di ♥

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