LAFAYETTE — For the past 13 years, Barbe English has volunteered at her children’s schools.
“They need so much help,” she said of her reason to begin volunteering. “They can use you every day if you could go every day.”
She splits her time between her children’s schools: Green T. Lindon Elementary and Youngsville Middle.
While many schools have the support of parents like English, the district is trying to broaden that support base.
“This is an effort to increase the number of volunteers,” said Superintendent Burnell Lemoine.
The district is using its 100+ Ways to Help initiative to recruit community volunteers. The program was launched last year as a way to match volunteer talents with a school’s identified need.
The United Way of Acadiana partnered in the outreach to help recruit, train and schedule the new volunteers.
The agency is in the process of confirming school needs with principals so a volunteer training session can be scheduled, said Keler Williams, United Way of Acadiana director of volunteer mobilization.
“We’re hoping that we’ll have volunteers in schools next month,” Williams said.
Opportunities include greeting students in the morning, tutoring in reading and math, landscaping and helping with after school programs, she said.
Through the volunteer program, the school system is also trying to create a bank of speakers — people interested in sharing their careers or discussing other topics with students, Lemoine said. The program was successful last year in helping connect schools with relevant guest speakers, he added.
While their children are the reason why they got involved, it’s not the only reason they continue to give their time, parents said Tuesday.
“It’s beneficial for my child, but I’m not doing it just for my child,” said Tricia Campbell, a Woodvale Elementary parent volunteer.
“We do it for all the children,” said Shelly Lovas, another Woodvale parent.
“It’s to help them succeed,” said Shelley Domingue of her reason for volunteering at Woodvale.
The women are officers of the school’s parent-teacher organization and spent Tuesday morning at the school preparing for next week’s open house.
“It opens your eyes a lot to what’s going on,” said Caroline Burdette, another Woodvale parent-volunteer.
Volunteering also helps in finding out what the school needs, added Domingue. She said prior to volunteering with the school, she didn’t pay much attention to school-related issues on the ballot.
“When voting time comes around, now I know,” she said.
“And we do this for other parents who can’t,” Lovas said.
Working parents can contact their school or teacher for any take-home projects, said Christie Schultz, a Woodvale parent.
While schools may already have their own volunteer support, 100+ Ways to Help is a means to recruit additional volunteers for academic enrichment activities, Williams said.
“We know some schools don’t have a lot of support, so we want to spread those resources throughout the parish,” Williams said.