Recession calls for more parent volunteers

By Christel Phillips - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - We constantly hear about the negative effects of the recent recession crunch, but this recession is bringing families together. According to researchers more parents are volunteering their time, at their children's schools.

More parents without jobs are having to balance looking for work and volunteering at their schools.

Sharon Day is a parent volunteer and actually runs the PTA at Brookhollow Elementary in Lufkin.  She said, "It's very important for parents to be involved. I just feel like you give your child that added confidence." Day adds, "When you're always involved and at the school you have a greater chance of knowing how your child's behaving, how they're interacting with other children and how their grades are."

Research says many schools are leaning hard on parents for help this fall.  Across the country 53% percent of parents plan to volunteer at their children's schools, that's up 44% from last year.

Brookhollow's Principal, Don Jackson feels, volunteering leaves a last impression on children. He said, "What I see when parents are involved are happy children."

Researchers say it also helps if parents know the best areas where they can volunteer.

If your child is in elementary school volunteer where your child can see you. Small children usually love seeing their parents in the classroom. Parent volunteers can get to know teachers, share information and see what happens in the classroom.

If your child is in middle school parents should volunteer where you can learn the most about the school's curriculum and classes. Classrooms close to parents. Although these pre-teens want you to still be invloved, they are terribly against you being in the classroom. Therefore, volunteer where you can pick up information that will help guide your child.

And if your child is in high school, volunteer where your student can see and learn from your example. Research shows parents volunteering have a small impact on high schoolers. However, activities like running the refreshment stand at the football game shows your child that "what you're doing is worth spending my time on."

Principal Jackson says schools understand not all parents can volunteer but there are ways to be involved. "Just communicate with us whenever they can," said Jackson.

Whether you're working or not, schools and teachers are always looking for good volunteers. "I guess it's kind of like the Marines, you need a few good men, we need a few good parents," laughingly, Jackson says.

Researchers also say the best way of teaching is by example and many times children that see their parents volunteer usually grow up to volunteer and commit to community service as well.

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