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Volunteer to help kids in Lynchburg

Whether you volunteer in your child's school, with a local youth sports organization or with an after school program, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities helping with kids in Lynchburg
Whether you volunteer in your child's school, with a local youth sports organization or with an after school program, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities helping with kids in Lynchburg
Sandy Wallace

Parents of children in Lynchburg, Va. have many opportunities to offer their time and talents as volunteers. Even parents who work full-time can help with their children's schools, sports teams, scout troops and other organizations. This article spotlights volunteer opportunities with Lynchburg City Schools, Lynchburg Little League Baseball, Central Virginia United Soccer and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg. Volunteering with children isn't limited to parents. The organizations spotlighted in this article welcome volunteers of any age, with or without children of their own.

As local kids prepare for back to school, many parents prepare for another year of volunteering with Lynchburg City Schools
Sandy Wallace

School systems and many organizations depend on help from dedicated volunteers to provide attention and assistance for children. Each organization has a set of rules and guidelines for volunteers. All of the organizations spotlighted in this article require volunteers to undergo background checks for the safety of the children.

I believe in the value of volunteering with children because children are the future of our nation. When you spend time with your children's classmates and teammates, your children know that they are valued. You get to know teachers, coaches, other parents, and other adults in your children's lives better. You also get to know the other children in a different way.

Lynchburg City Schools are made up of 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, two alternate schools, and two regional schools. The mission statement of Lynchburg City Schools is "Every Child, By Name and By Need, to Graduation." As students and teachers prepare for a new school year, there are many opportunities for volunteers to get involved.

Thousands of volunteer hours by parents and other adults help Lynchburg City Schools meet their goals. There are many volunteer opportunities within the school system including classroom volunteer, field trip chaperone, event coordinator, PTA member and other roles as needed. Most teachers put in many hours of their own time, outside the school day, to help children succeed. With the help of parents and other volunteers, Lynchburg City Schools helps children achieve goals in the classroom and beyond. Adults who wish to volunteer with Lynchburg City Schools can download a volunteer form at the city school website.

Lynchburg Little League Baseball is currently holding registration for fall baseball. Many parents begin volunteering with Lynchburg Little League when their children begin playing t-ball; however, there are volunteer opportunities at every age level. Lynchburg Little League is part of the larger organization, Little League Baseball, Inc. Little League celebrates 75 years in 2014.

Most practices and games are in the evening or on weekends when most parents are not working. Parents often aren't comfortable dropping young children off at practice without staying. Sometimes parents choose to volunteer, but other times they are asked to help by a coach or manager. Parents don't need to have stellar baseball skills to volunteer, but do need to be willing to work with children and be willing to learn. There are many books written about coaching and there are courses given by the organization.

It's often been said that sports build character. As parents coach their children and other ball players, teaching and reinforcing baseball skills, they are also teaching sportsmanship, teamwork, and other life skills. By being on the field with your child during practice, you learn what skills your child needs to practice at home. The children of coaches are often the best players on the team because of the extra time their parents spends at home working with them. You get to know a lot of great parents while coaching or serving as a team parent. You also build special relationships with the children on the team that often last for years. Adults who are interested in volunteering with Lynchburg Little League can fill out a volunteer form at the website.

Central Virginia United Soccer is a regional soccer organization. The organization merged with Peaks Area Soccer Association, PASA, to create a large regional soccer club in 2012. CVU offers highly competitive travel soccer, with U11 through U18 and U19 teams competing in the Skyline Club Soccer League and the Blue Ridge Soccer League. CVU travel players are some of the top players on their high school teams in Central Virginia.

CVU also offers an Academy Program for U9 and U10 age groups to prepare players for travel play. The Developmental Recreation Soccer Program at CVU is for kids ages 4-1/2 to 17. In the rec program, players learn the basics while having fun and developing a love for the game. Most volunteer coaches begin at the rec level. Register your child for the 2014 fall recreation league at the website and learn more about coaching.

Like Little League, most soccer practices and games are in the evenings and on weekends when most parents are available. Many soccer parents learn the game with their children. Soccer rules are pretty cut and dried once you learn them and kids often teach the rules to their parents. Soccer games are fast-paced and generally last 60 to 90 minutes.

Central Virginia United counts on volunteers at all levels of play. From helpers on the field with the youngest players to coaches and assistants, team parents, fundraiser helpers and office workers, there's something for everyone. Often moms are more comfortable volunteering with soccer teams than with baseball, football or basketball teams. There are many coaching aids for beginning coaches and Central Virginia United also holds coaching clinics. As you teach children the rules of the game, you also help them learn to work together toward a common goal, to treat others fairly, and to cooperate.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg works with children after school, offering homework help and providing a positive, fun and stable environment for local kids. The club's primary location is at 1101 Madison Street in downtown Lynchburg and a second location is at the Dewitt Cottage on the HumanKind campus, formerly Presbyterian Homes and Family Services, at 150 Linden Avenue. The greatest need for volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club is during Power Hour from 5-6 p.m.

Other local organizations that help children include Kids' Haven, offering help to children who have lost a parent or loved one through death, and Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts which teach children citizenship and leadership skills.