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Volunteer support threaded through schools

Community in Action

National Volunteer Week is April 23 to 29, 2017. Currently in Bellingham Public Schools, there are nearly 3,200 approved volunteers in the database, up 10 percent from the 2015-16 school year.

Parent volunteers are the lifeblood of the parent teacher associations at individual schools. They organize fundraising and spearhead special events; they also help with newsletters, school gardens or school plays, to name just a few of their functions.

Community-based volunteers, comprising 35 percent (927) of the 3,200 total, are members of local churches, students at Western Washington University, and come from more than 20 community organizations such as Common Threads, Wild Whatcom, BAAY, Communities in Schools, Rotary Clubs, and biking and walking groups. Included in the total are also more than 100 retired educators, healthcare workers and Fortune 500 professionals. In addition, there are more than 100 district students who serve as volunteers on school and community projects.

Volunteers provide a range of skills that support established district programming such as  AVID, GRADS, ELL and after-school learning centers. They chaperone, garden, and teach after-school classes. They serve in classrooms and support student learning by being an extra adult helping with reading, writing, and math, or assisting with art projects. They also help keep the calm in the cafeteria and on the playground, or assist in the school office. They may give feedback on college essays, support hearing and sight testing, or play the piano for school choruses.

When you need a hand, no matter the task, you can usually find a skilled volunteer in the database to assist.

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