Saturday, May 23, 2009

Appreciating volunteers

In general, wherever you live, you are presented with numerous options for getting involved in your community. None of us are in an island. We depend on each other for survival and getting through our daily lives. The gap between communities and societies is ever increasing. This gap can be effectively bridged through volunteering. Each of us has skills in certain areas that others can benefit from. Volunteering is all about sharing these skills with the community. This allows us to connect with the community and give something back. There is also the benefit of learning group dynamics and team facilitation. While it is easier to "get things done" as a manager at work, it is not as easy to work with a diverse range of people with varied backgrounds that one encounters in a community and still complete tasks.

I have been involved in the Technology Committee of Weibel Elementary School for the last 11 years. The mission of the Technology Committee is to enable the Teachers to implement/use technology in their day-to-day activities. I still remember starting off with wiring all the class rooms with CAT-5 cables. Now, the school is blanketed with Wireless; most teachers have laptops and are not "afraid" to use Technology to improve the dissemination of information and assist them with curriculum development. As I had mentioned in an earlier posting on "25 Random Facts about me", I generally volunteer in the activities that my kids are involved in. Initially, I drew inspiration from people like Trish & John Caruso; John Mitchell and West Kurihara. They would tirelessly volunteer  despite having hectic schedules. Often people would ask me, "How do you find the time?" My response would be, "It is not a question of finding time. It is about making time."

Every year, the teachers at Weibel celebrate a "Volunteer Appreciation Day" where all the volunteers get together at Best House in the verdant Palmdale Estates. This year's celebration was on Thursday, May 21st. At this event the PTO awards certificates to the Board members and a few others to recognize their contributions. In addition, it is an opportunity for parents to talk to the teachers in a casual environment. The ambience of the place, the food and the people all make it a memorable, enjoyable evening. The evening's entertainment is provided by a High School choir/band. Usually, the participating students would have graduated from Weibel - thus giving the parents and teachers additional impetus to cheer/encourage them.

At the end of the evening the PTO gives one "TOP" award for "Thoroughly Outstanding
Performance". I was the recipient of this year's TOP award. I am humbled by the award and feel privileged that my kids belong to an Elementary School District with such a high caliber of parents, teachers and administrators. I am probably not the most deserving of this award. I am aware of many "unsung" parents who spend countless hours on a daily basis keeping the kids safe and healthy. Nevertheless, I would like to avail the "opportunity" to urge other parents to volunteer more. The school and the kids are the better for it. Besides, it is your way of "giving back".

1 comment:

Sujatha said...

Well Said! I absolutely agree on volunteering and giving back. The more you can do the better off you will be. Now that the kids are going to be out of the Elementary school, you'll probably feel a bit bereft - unless you plan on continuing with your work there!