Volunteers improve schools

Published 5:19 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When Susan Hill was student teaching in a different North Carolina county, she had three volunteers in her classroom.

The help meant a lot to the teacher-in-training. The extra helping hands benefited students, too. A 2000 study found that volunteers improve the climate of the classroom, individual achievement and school-community relations. The study of 57 elementary schools also determined that the benefits of volunteers outweigh the costs of recruiting and training them.

Since coming to Eastern Elementary School, Hill hasn’t seen an abundance of volunteers. She plans to change that with Grandparents are Great, a volunteer program in which “grandparents” adopt a classroom for the school year and support the class by reading to the children, leading small-group sessions, talking with students, introducing students to new activities and projects and playing educational games.

Sign-ups for the new program started this week.

Hill said she was inspired by Mahatma Ghandi’s words, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Volunteering is a simple way to initiate change in our community, and working with students is an investment in Beaufort County’s future. Volunteers will improve literacy rates with one-on-one tutoring. They will become mentors to at-risk students and improve student attendance.

With core-curriculum requirements that require teachers to individually assess each student, the need for volunteers has never been as great. Volunteers will keep the rest of the class engaged as teachers conduct assessments.

Beyond the daily lessons the volunteers will provide, their mere presence sends a message to children about the importance of getting involved in their communities.

The next sign-up days for the program are July 16 and July 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. But you can become a GG by visiting the school’s office at 947 Hudnell St. or contacting Hill at sphill@beaufort.k12.nc.us.