The School Volunteer Jobs That Most Help Your Kids

The Wall Street Journal article below highlights the volunteer roles in school that allow parents to deliver the biggest benefit to their children. To help your child in school, the writer suggests picking volunteer stints that enable you to:

* Learn about classes and curriculum.
* Build relationships with teachers and staff.
* Show the value you place on education.
* Learn how problems at school are resolved.

While every parent can choose to volunteer for projects or assignments according to their own areas of interest and ability relevant to the school’s needs, the research-based advice cited in this article helps steer parents toward the best volunteer options according to their children’s developmental stages as they move through elementary, middle school and high school. For example, children in grades k-5 typically love to see their parents in the classroom, so if you have to choose, helping out with a classroom party or being a chaperone on fields trips trumps serving on the board where kids don’t get to see what you’re doing. In addition to volunteering, the experts underscore an even bigger way to positively impact your child’s life: coaching.

“If you lack time to volunteer, or if you find yourself at the bottom of a long waiting list of wannabe school helpers, don’t despair: How you coach your child at home matters far more.

Throughout school, the most important parental role of all is to shape your child’s attitude toward learning and school, communicate high expectations, and help him or her set goals and solve learning problems,” summarizes the WSJ education author, Sue Shellenbarger.

LifeBound is committed to helping parents learn coaching skills so they can motivate, inspire and connect with their kids. Next week we’re launching a new series of sessions around coaching at schools throughout Jefferson County and in Colorado Springs with coaching facilitator Maureen Breeze, the co-author of LifeBound’s new book, Critical and Creative Thinking for Teenagers. For more information about LifeBound’s coaching resources for parents at your school, please visit our web site at and click on the “coaching” button, or email us at or call toll free 1.877.737.8510.

The School Volunteer Jobs That Most Help Your Kids
by Sue Shellenbarger
October 7, 2009
Wall Street Journal

Rosa Rivera receives so many invitations to volunteer at her children’s school and other activities that the dozens of daily emails and calls about various projects can be “just overwhelming,” says the mother of two.

At her children’s stage, ages 7 and 9, her top priority is to take the projects that will help them most in school and life, says Ms. Rivera, Austin, Texas. But it can be hard to figure out which projects those are. “You’re pulled and stretched in so many directions, now more than ever,” she says.

Cash-strapped schools are leaning hard on parents for help this fall. Some 53% of parents plan to volunteer at their children’s schools, up from 44% last year, says a poll of 1,086 parents by Harris Interactive and GreatSchools, a nonprofit parent-involvement group. The re-opening of schools this fall has triggered a 50% increase in volunteer signups at, a Web site for organizing volunteers, to 75,000 from 50,000 last summer, says Karen Bantuveris, VolunteerSpot founder.

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