Whether your kids are just starting kindergarten or entering the final year of high school, there are many good reasons for parents to volunteer at school. It’s a great way to show your kids that you take an interest in their education, and it sends a positive message that you consider school a worthwhile cause. Parent volunteers offer a huge resource and support base for the school community and are essential to organizing fundraising events and other school activities. Parent volunteers are also showing their kids the importance of participating in the larger community.
The school reaps the benefits of your involvement and you will, too. By interacting with teachers, administrators, and other parents on a regular basis, you’ll gain a greater understanding of your child’s daily activities. My kids go to Dulwich College Beijing (DCB) where all parents are automatically members of the Friends of DCB. The aim of the Friends committee is to raise money for charities and for the school, organize social events, support the school at certain events, and helps build that link between teachers and parents. But more than that, Friend’s provides a vital link to new comers, helping to create a sense of school community and belonging.
Like many schools, a lot of the activities and celebrations are organized by volunteers. At the beginning of the year there’s a sign-up sheet for class parents; a job which will involve collecting funds and organizing small celebrations (Halloween, my favorite lets-not-call-it-Christmas ‘Winter’ party, and the end of year party). I’ve signed up for various Friends roles in the five years I’ve been in Beijing. I’ve been a class parent, campus rep, had a brief stint in the chair’s chair, organized the UK stand at International Day (introducing the joys of Pimm’s & Lemonade) and more recently as part of the team organizing the annual Charity Dinner Dance.
Friend’s was a lifeline for me, when I arrived in Beijing during winter 2010. I had given up my career to relocate with my husband and our youngest, who was then aged 19 months. I needed to be doing something, to feel useful, and to feel a part of things. Along the way I have had the pleasure of meeting and making friends with so many wonderful parents. Some have been truly inspirational in the work they do for charities and those less fortunate. Others have been the perfect sounding board when life has been challenging. And there are those that have been behind so much laughter and some amazing nights out!
In just a few weeks’ time I will move with my family to Shanghai. I am looking forward to becoming involved once again in the school and parent community there. My kids love to see me involved in school activities and I know my time in Shanghai will be all the more enriched because of it.
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.
Photos: David Goehring (Flickr) and courtesy of Sally Wilson