Editorial: School begins with need for volunteers

August 29, 2014

By Staff

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On Tuesday, parents across the Issaquah and Renton school districts will walk their children to the school bus or to school for the start of a new school year.

Finally, a bit of free time for a second cup of coffee.

But wait, your school needs you. The volunteer jobs at school are endless. The playground needs monitors, the library can use assistance, the front office might need your organizational skills, teachers almost never have enough helpers and the nurse’s office is often in need of a mother’s touch to watch over a sick child.

But the best volunteer jobs may be working directly with students. Parents, grandparents and other citizens are always welcome to just listen to children read. For a bigger role, ask about becoming a mentor, helping guide a child in his or her social development and studies — or sometimes just to be there to listen.

If you prefer something more athletic, check into becoming a volunteer to help a coach. The middle schools and high schools have an array of sports teams that need organizational and skills assistance in support of its coaches.

Volunteers at schools are not expected to take leadership roles. Volunteers do not get involved in discipline or instruction. The role is one of helper.

Getting involved in school doesn’t necessarily mean more time with children. The PTA at each school is looking for parents to volunteer in everything from teacher recognition to fundraising. Start by joining your PTA, and then get involved.

The Issaquah and Renton school districts require a background check on every volunteer, parent or not. All volunteers must apply and be approved before they get clearance to begin service. In addition to the typical background information, volunteers must undergo a Washington State Patrol criminal history check once every two years.

To get started, stop in at a school office to learn more about volunteer opportunities and get an application. Forms and information can also be found on the district’s websites at www.issaquah.wednet.edu/schools/volunteers.aspx and www.rentonschools.us/Departments/Community_Relations/VolunteerInformation.

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