Thursday, May 17, 2012

What I Do: Volunteer Luncheon

Today was the lunch for volunteers at the lower elementary. It was really very nice. It was a lovely little buffet, and the teachers were also allowed to come in and get free lunch (which I think is awesome), and then you sat down and ate, and maybe talked to people. Mostly, I talked to one of the teachers I volunteer for, and with Andy's teacher, but I also got to meet a couple of other volunteers doing awesome things, like the gentleman who volunteers in his daughter's classroom because his workshift doesn't let him see her when she's home, and the very nice lady who does stuff in the library. Seriously, volunteers at schools? They totally rock. I kind of forget what I do is considered on par with the wonderful helping these other folks do.

So came the question, when one is at a volunteer luncheon and knows, um, nobody: "So... who do you volunteer for? What do you do?"

Apparently, most volunteers come in and do one of three things:

They run activities, like the book fair or a special assignment, like when the kids have a project in class that requires extra hands;

They come in regularly and help out in the classroom, mostly prepping material for their kid's teacher;

They come in regularly and help out with engaging the kids while their kid's teacher runs small groups or 1:1.

And then I come out with, "I teach sign language in three of the special ed kindergarden classrooms" followed up with, "My kid is not a kindergardener; he's in second grade." And next year, I totally plan on continuing the program. In fact, if I can get myself and my money together, I'm going to try for certification through Signing Time to be an instructor. Then I want to expand the program to include more classrooms. Signing is great for getting around the processing speech problems among the kids in the SpEd rooms, so I don't see why it wouldn't make for great visual prompts and supports in other classrooms, too. They teach the kids Spanish, why not ASL?

Yeah, that's what I do. At least it apparently made for nice lunchtime conversation; and most folks I met wanted to learn a sign, which I thought was awesome. Every little bit helps, right?

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