Volunteer Leaders Making a Difference in Schools

By Laurie Meier, National Military Family Association Volunteer, Tucson, AZ

On the third Tuesday of every month, you will find a group of women sitting around a table in a basement trying to figure out the best way to stretch too few dollars over many needs. Requests are passed around, read, discussed, and voted on. The student council president and faculty advisor are there to ask for monetary support, as well as warm bodies and baked goods for an upcoming fundraiser. The site council representative announces the upcoming mandated cuts to the budget and a discussion begins on how to cover the loss of the PE coach, two secretaries, and a counselor.

Down on the football field of this same school, the presidents of the football and soccer boosters’ clubs and a couple of other dads are busy reseeding the football field. They raised the funds for the seed and fertilizer themselves and wanted to make sure it was seeded correctly. They’re very good at raising money for their teams; their efforts have made it possible to pay the assistant coaches, buy new uniforms, and pay for team travel. They raised enough money to create a weight room for the players out of an old garage.

Later that evening, a group of retired Air Force officers  set up for their weekly Civilian Air Patrol meeting. They have fifteen cadets they’re teaching leadership skills, aerospace science, and emergency response. Their cadets have been able to get orientation flights, attend encampments, and compete in leadership courses. Some of them are looking forward to careers in the military; all have shown marked improvements in their grades.

Volunteer leaders serve an immeasurable roll in the lives of students and in the functioning of schools. And it isn’t an easy road. Sometimes these leaders take on too much; they’ll do everything themselves rather than delegating because it’s easier that way. Or they’ll try to find help, but no one steps up. Many times they feel unappreciated.

So why would these volunteers take on the mantle of leadership? They all have busy lives as small business owners, program managers, stay-at-home moms, teachers, judge. Incidents like these are occuring in schools across the country. Devoted volunteer leaders are making policy decisions involving personnel, raising money to keep programs going while minimizing the effects of budgetary shortfalls, and inspiring and encouraging young lives. Performing vital roles that would otherwise go unfilled. All doing what they do, simply because they saw a need.

Click here to read another article about leadership through volunteerism.

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