Parenting and Volunteering
These two words come together in the most beautiful and fulfilling way in most towns/ cities in the USA. When I first moved to the US I used to wonder how a working parent could find time to volunteer – isn’t the task of raising a child itself so complex? Over the years I have come to realize that there is a seamless connection between these words – you do good while fulfilling your responsibilities as a parent. You volunteer in your child’s world and contribute to the bigger community by stretching a little more each day.
I live in the suburbs of New York City and have three kids. I am also a small business owner, so life is busy on all fronts. When the kids were younger and the business was in its infancy, I had no time to volunteer. I would look at the dentists, lawyers, investment bankers volunteering and would be perplexed at how they found the time to volunteer as much. They inspired me to start and now when I look around me, I just see good people stretching themselves a little more each day to make our world a better place.
Here are some key organizations that are solely based on parent volunteers –
Parent Teacher Organization
Across the country, this organization does so much for education and learning that we cannot imagine a school system without it. From organizing fund-raising events for school supplies, activities, books for libraries, computers and Ipads to creating a fun and happy learning atmosphere for the kids, the PTO in every school runs on hundreds of hours of volunteer work and a lot of big generous hearts.
Soccer, baseball, football, basketball a few non-profit clubs in my town are all fueled by volunteering parents. A team of 10-15 kids has two parent coaches, who spend at least 5-7 hours every week coaching them and making them better players, better human beings. Most of these parents work full-time, run their own businesses or have long commutes to work but still manage to show up for practice and games 3 times a week. If not for them, our kids would not have the opportunity to play, grow and learn.
Odyssey of the Mind
This is a non-profit organization that fosters creative learning in children. Every year the organization comes up with a few different types of problems and teams from all over the world work to solve the problems. They then present their solutions at their district or state level. The winning team then goes onto the national competitions. A wonderful learning experience for the child – all due to a huge group of volunteers and parents who devote time to organizing it. This year I am coaching my son’s team. We have picked our problem and have started on our creative learning path. But if not for these thousands of parent volunteers, we would not have had the opportunity to experience it.
Thank you Parents, Volunteers !
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