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Getting involved in your grandchildren’s lives can reap untold rewards

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Volunteering at your grandchildren’s school can provide unimagined benefits for all involved.

Today I volunteered at my grandchildrens' school and did a Valentine’s Day project with them. The unbridled joy and appreciation of the students and the teacher touched my heart in a very special way. My grandchildren were overjoyed to see me and hugged me –in front of their friends! (That alone speaks volumes.) The teachers appreciated the help, creativity and brief reprieve.

Not intended to provide direct instruction but assist with student learning and activities, volunteer family members (parents and grandparents) are an important benefit on a number of levels.

1. In order to continually offer truly exceptional, affordable educational experiences, community involvement is essential. Budgets and funds are spread so thinly that there may not be enough hands on deck to accommodate and enrich as many programs, activities and educational journeys as schools plan for or would like.

2. Beyond celebrated sports figures, music, movie and television celebrities, role models are few and far between today. What could be more powerful than a student seeing his or her mother, father or grandparent actively participate and personally engage in their life in the school? You’d be surprised how receptive the other students are, as well.

3. Feeling a little tentative about interacting with students? Offer your services by doing what you do best. There are many administration functions that volunteers can to do to help support student learning. Have a hobby or talent that translates into science, math, geography? You can work with teachers to create special presentations and programs. Love to read? Volunteer to assist with tasks in the library. Have special culinary skills? Perhaps there are special award programs, bake sales or demonstrations in which you can participate.

Local schools provide many ways for family and community members to become involved. According to the National Education Association, each school determines the levels of family involvement in school. Contact your child’s/grandchild’s school to find out what opportunities are available and sign up today.

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