Editorial — Consider volunteering in the classroom

September 2, 2015

By Staff

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NEW — 4:50 p.m. Sept. 2, 2015

Newcastle parents whisked their children off to school this week, symbolically bringing an end to the long summer nights.

After dropping the kids off at school, you might feel the urge to kick back, relax and enjoy some “me” time. You deserve it after a long summer keeping the young ones entertained.

But wait! The schools need you. The volunteer jobs are endless. The playgrounds need monitors, the libraries can use assistance, the front offices might need your organizational skills, teachers almost never have enough helpers and the nurse’s offices are 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.

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.

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.

For those who want to take on a bigger role, ask about becoming a mentor. If you can give just an hour a week, Issaquah’s VOICE Mentor Program and Renton’s Community in Schools of Renton program offer opportunities to make a real impact on the lives of kids who need it most.

Learn more about Issaquah’s program at voicementorprogram.org and Renton’s at renton.ciswa.org. There are several students hoping to find a “special someone” to become their friend, cheerleader and confidante.

Schools 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.

To get started, simply stop in at your local school’s office to learn more about volunteer opportunities. Learn more about volunteering in Issaquah schools at http://bit.ly/1U9T6kT and Renton schools at http://bit.ly/1JHYZzV.

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