January 25, 2010
Wikipedia defines volunteering as the practice of people working on behalf of others or a particular cause without payment for their time and services. Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life; but people also volunteer for their own skill development, to meet others, to make contacts for possible employment, to have fun, and for a variety of other reasons.
The volunteers that so enrich the opportunities for students in the Gateway Regional School District are without doubt an integral and important part of the district’s ability to meet the myriad needs of our students. From reading to students to chaperoning field trips, from membership in school based organizations such as PTO’s, School Councils, Booster Clubs and even the School Committee, from assisting teachers in preparing materials to helping in the classroom, our volunteers help in a wide variety of ways that can be tailored to meet the time constraints and hectic pace of our community members. Volunteering in the schools benefits students, staff, community relations as well as allows the volunteer to become involved in the school, derive satisfaction from a job well done and the ability to explore various interests.
“The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.” This quote from Peter Drucker points out the obvious, much like the saying that you can never step in the same stream twice. What is doesn’t point out is that we do have some control over what that future is and the ability to shape it to meet our needs. As we move forward with the elementary school consolidation process, I urge existing volunteers to reach out to others so that our volunteer ‘pool’ and activities can expand to benefit children throughout the district. The opportunities for participating in PTO’s, reconstituting school councils and helping students will not disappear or be reduced in this process, but rather will grow and allow for much more interaction between schools and community members. Our ability to be role models for our children and show them how to positively adapt to change, how to be resilient in difficult times and how to set individual differences aside for the good of the whole may be the most lasting impression that students will carry away from this process. How we move forward from this point will impact not only our current students but also the overall spirit of our schools for years to come. For our students’ sake, I hope we can all move forward in a positive manner and expand the spirit of volunteerism in the district.
Save the Date as Gateway hosts its “Annual Volunteer Dinner” to recognize and applaud the efforts of our volunteers on Thursday, March 11th with open seating from 5 to 7 PM. If you’ve volunteered in any way throughout the past year, you and your family are invited to attend this dinner in recognition of your efforts to help students. We also extend a special invitation to those individuals who helped the district plan and implement the multiple H1N1 clinics throughout the district--this was a new area for the district and was successful due to the help of many people. As with so many activities in our communities, this was just another example of the willingness of neighbors to help neighbors so that our quality of life remains high.