During the holiday season every community is overflowing with opportunities to volunteer. Helping out those less fortunate is part of the Christmas cheer that we all want to experience. But when the decorations go back in the boxes and the lights are turned off for another year, what happens to the members of the community who need support the rest of the year?
Making a commitment to volunteer for an extended period of time is essential to the health and wellbeing of all citizens. The S4 Group has a tradition of supporting staff in their volunteer experiences throughout the year. We have published articles that have highlighted several types of projects that we are involved in.
The subject of this article is about one activity – volunteering in your local schools.
When students see adult volunteers in their schools, they see firsthand how members of their community value education and support their local school. When a community is involved in their schools, more people have a better sense of the total education picture, including the gaps in the educational process. More involvement results in better understanding and a commitment to even more support. Henderson and Mapp (2002) report evidence that volunteers can be significant resources in helping to create a supportive and welcoming environment at schools and facilitating students’ behavior and performance. As positive role models and student motivators, volunteers are viewed as contributors to better school attendance, improved grades and test scores, matriculation, less misbehavior, better social skills, staying in school, graduating, and going on to college. Available evidence suggests that when adult volunteers are present, students see that adults take school and education seriously and respect learning.
Nancy Jones, the Director of Quality Assurance at the S4 Group is a reading coach at one of the elementary schools in Ogden. She has been involved with the program for the past 5 years. Of her experience Nancy comments, “At the start of the school year the students are nervous and shy around me. As the year progresses we become partners in reading success and we both feel the pride that comes with their accomplishments. The kids are great.”
Thinking about continuing the Holiday spirit? Call your local school or non-profit organization and get involved. A good starting point is to check out this link to many available community opportunities http://www.volunteermatch.org/