We grandparents have reached an age when we have a lot of life experience. We have wisdom and knowledge to pass on to younger generations, but sometimes don’t know how to effectively do that. Have you thought about volunteering in your local elementary schools? In today’s busy world where jobs often take family members to all parts of the globe, many young children don’t have any grandparent models in their lives. They would love to have an older grandma or grandpa figure to talk and play with. Local schools usually are extremely grateful for willing volunteers who will commit to a certain day and time of the week. Here’s how it works:
Visit your local school and find out what paperwork needs to be done. It is usually necessary these days to have a simple background check done and possibly fingerprints put on file to be sure that people entering the school are no threat to children. Put up with this as it is a necessary evil in our dangerous world.
Once you are cleared, find out which classroom teachers want someone to visit weekly for several hours to interact with children. Meet briefly with that teacher and discuss the specific activities he or she would like you to do. Here are some of the things teachers often ask volunteers to do
Help one or more children to finish a certain task
Sit alongside a child and listen to them read
Talk with a child about the meaning of what he or she has read
Play an instructional game with a small group of children
Prepare materials for a lesson: cutting, copying, etc.
Help to oversee a group lesson, answer questions, repeat directions, etc.
It doesn’t matter if you were ever trained as a teacher. The tasks given to you as a volunteer will be matched to your personality and your enthusiasm. Children don’t need more instructors, they need more adults who show interest and caring for them. Some schools have programs in which volunteers visit and eat lunch with a child or mentor them in some way. Your local schools and community programs will have lots of information for you.
Take a risk! Share some of the experiences that have shaped your life with the next generation. There are children just waiting for someone like you to come and enrich their lives.