Volunteering - You Get More than You Give

By Phyllis Kesslen

Numerous studies have shown that people who volunteer are more satisfied, happier, healthier, fulfilled and actually live longer than those who do not. Giving back really does feel great! And where better to donate your time and talents than at your child’s school. It’s a win-win for the whole family!

Volunteering not only feels good, it serves a critical need at non-profit institutions. Schools, in particular, depend on volunteers to help support the plethora of programs that make them so vibrant, and schools benefit greatly from the creativity and know-how that parents bring to the table. For parents, it’s a great way to join a community, become connected and make new friends.

I volunteered throughout my children’s entire education (from preschool through high school) and I am a huge proponent of volunteering. I not only met some of my best friends through volunteering, but I learned a great deal and I set an example for my children of what it means to give back and be an active participant in a community. Of course, there are fringe benefits, too, like seeing your children in action with their peers and getting an inside look into the dynamics of your child’s school.

Whether you have a little time or a lot, if you’re new to school or a veteran, it’s never too late to get involved.

Here’s how:

·      Visit your school’s Parents Association page on their website, and see what’s happening.

·      Think of how your skills and interests will match with the various opportunities. 

·      Reach out to the parent leadership, either via email or in person, and express your interest in helping out.

·      Enlist a friend to volunteer with you.

·      If you work during the school day, look for groups and events that meet on evening or weekends, or ask for tasks that can be accomplished from your office or at home after hours.

Let’s face it: everyone’s first foray into volunteering can be daunting. But even the most seasoned volunteers were newbies once, too. My advice is just dive in! You’ll be pleasantly surprised, your child will be thrilled and the benefits will well outweigh your investment in time and effort.