Back to School: Pay it Forward

The school supply aisles are stocked. Teachers have posted shopping lists. Families are flocking to stores in anticipation of fall. But this is more than a season for a shopping frenzy. It’s a time for all of us to consider new ways we can support schools in our community.

This type of an intentional action is a win-win. By being engaged in your community your efforts will have a positive impact on schools and your personal wellbeing.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 60 million people volunteered in all kinds of organizations during the year ending August 2014. Fully one-quarter served in schools or other youth-service settings. Whether or not you have school-aged children, you can be part of this vast movement with tremendous local impact.

Back to school time is a great opportunity to pay it forward. Your involvement as a volunteer can be as varied as your own skills and interests. You can:

  • Volunteer as a classroom aide.

  • Tutor students in reading, building math skills, or those who simply need a little more attention.

  • Offer enrichment lessons or after-school classes in art, music, literature, language, business, STEM, or more. Bring your passion to school!

  • Contribute technical skills, whether teaching in a classroom or providing hardware or software support.

  • Help support special needs students facing unique challenges.

  • Invite students to your own turf, offering workplace tours and days for shadowing. (Your employer may grant you flex time or time off to volunteer at a school)

  • Contribute necessities and special extras. Organize a drive to gather school supplies for your local school.

And as your family does its own back to school shopping, engage your children in a sharing experience. Help them create a list of supplies they would like to donate to their school, or research the best bargains on necessities. Encourage your child to use their share dollars for the cause.

Want more ideas? Check with your child’s school or another in your community to discover how you can get involved. Studies show that 40% of volunteers make first contact with an organization, reaching out and taking the initiative to get involved. You don’t have to wait to be asked!

GOTTA HAVE IT NOW! WOW!  Volunteers contribute tens of billions of dollars in labor to schools each year. —

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