This is an article from my Parenting column on Examiner.com.
A new national poll of K through 12 parents shows a 20% spike in parents’ plans to volunteer at schools–a desperately needed helping hand in a time of steep budget cuts for schools.
The new school year is just around the corner and with budgets stretched thin, parents are spending as much time at their kids’ schools as their kids are–monitoring, supervising, fundraising–to help out where staff cuts leave holes.
- Parents may still not know how best to help schools. 1 in 2 parents (49%) cite a lack of volunteer opportunities provided by their child’s teacher or school as one of the main challenges they face to being more involved in their children’s education.
- Parents may not be fully prepared for the start of school. While 93% of parents plan to buy school supplies ahead of time, only 47% of parents find out which subjects their child will be learning.
Fortunately, the web and social media are poised to become the most efficient ways for everyone to pull together to help out at school.
Whether helping keep peace in the school lunchroom or manning the dunking booth at the Halloween carnival, parents can rely on VolunteerSpot, a free, easy-to-use online tool that takes the hassle and headache out of coordinating volunteers and encourages everyone to get involved.
VolunteerSpot enables anyone to organize a group, no matter the size, to sign up for any activity, from reading to the first-grade class to staffing the football concessions stand to attending parent-teacher conferences. Organizers can mobilize parent volunteers with an easy e-mail sign-up invitation, and parents can volunteer for tasks with a simple click on an online calendar. No registration required. Automated e-mails remind participants of their commitments and schedule. (Yay! No more mass “reply all” e-mails, late-night phone calls, dreaded clipboard sign-up sheets or confusion over exactly who will be doing what!)
“In these times of limited resources, VolunteerSpot will be used by our staff and parents to help with activity organization for the next school year, including fundraising,” says Linda Mora, principal at Laurelwood Elementary in San Jose, Calif. “The word goes out, and the volunteers sign up. It’s that easy. Student success is built by a community of caring parents, teachers and staff–and using VolunteerSpot allows us to get the needed volunteers in just a fraction of the time.”