Thursday, January 08, 2009

Parents Volunteer

Our primary focus is to teach parents of preschoolers (age 3, 4, 5) how to get their children ready for school. Home Visitors first establish a relationship with parents, and train them to work with their children. Once parents feel comfortable with teaching techniques and their own skills they are challenged to give back to the community by volunteering. Home visitors are the link between the community and the school. They bring volunteer opportunities from the school to parents and support volunteering and parent involvement in the schools. Principals like Kay Reynolds at Richardson ISD Dobie Elementary have expressed the wide-reaching effects HIPPY has on volunteerism in their school, “My Pre-K teachers comb through their class roster at the beginning of the year looking for HIPPY kids and their parents! They know that these parents are motivated, anxious to help their child and willing to volunteer. HIPPY helps parents understand they need to be involved and to look for new ways to be involved.” We challenge parents to volunteer 20 hours per year through bringing opportunities into the home visit, hosting volunteer events at the school, and presenting volunteer opportunities during the monthly parent meetings at the school. This year the Texas HIPPY Center has developed a 15 hour curriculum for program coordinators to provide home visitors with training on how to develop leadership and volunteerism among parents. This curriculum is available online at (click on backoffice). Once activated, parents have engaged in the following volunteer activities: reading to children in the classroom, supervising field trips, overseeing the lunch room, making classroom supplies for teachers, establishing a community garden, participating in PTA, and special projects such as painting a mural at a school cafeteria. As a result of our Home Visitors efforts (HIPPYCorps Members) 80.6% of HIPPY parents increased their level of parent involvement with their children’s school. At the beginning of the year 47% of parents had volunteered or otherwise supported their child’s school. By the end of the year, 65% were involved monthly or more often. Thanks to the continuous support and motivation from the HIPPYCorps Home Visitors 1,590 HIPPY parents volunteered a total of 25,110 volunteer hours!


PTA Power said...

We've had great results getting more parents involved by using better high-tech ways to ASK them. Our class coordinator uses to ask parents & volunteers to sign up for weekly slots as reading and math station helpers. We also use it to schedule volunteers for fundraisers like bookfairs. It's so nice getting to signup online and not having a flurry of reply-all email. It's free and easy, any parent or teacher can launch a VolunteerSpot, all you need is email addresses.

Carla Dallas said...

that's really cool. I can see it working with a population that has internet access. Many of the parents we serve do not have a computer at home, nor are they web-savvy. Fortunately this is changing for the better, especially with younger parents. We find that one on one communication, especially when inviting parents to come in to volunteer their first time at the school, is still the most effective method to get parents in the door. Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Great blog.

Great comments and for the last 10 years I have heard and felt each one of them as I helped lead a program to get fathers and father-figures started and active in my children's elementary and middle schools.

While we had great success in my schools, the challenge was to duplicate that success in all schools nationally. The reality was, some schools/school districts have 65-85% of their students living in a single parent home, typically with mom. While the need is huge for male involvement for all children, many of these students do not have their father or a father-figure in their life to participate in the program as a volunteer.

I launched Schools And Families Engaged (the S.A.F.E. TEAM on Campus) in 2008 to meet the needs of schools and families. Many of the school's families do not know where to begin in school. Many parents today never had an example of their parents supporting the school let alone they may not have enjoyed their personal schooling experience. Why would they have a desire to serve? You only know what you have experienced.

Make time to check out our site . On the About SAFE page, click on the 40 Developmental Assets link. This will tie in all the benefits of families and communities supporting their students both in school and out of school.

Carla Dallas said...

thanks for your information. Bringing our "HIPPY Dads" continues to be one of our challenges and priorities. Typically we meet with the mother when we do a home visit. Some of the ways we include fathers is by holding the parent meetings when Dad can attend and by having at least one home visit when he is at home.