A few words from a new volunteer - The Power of One

Friday, September 14, 2018

Cathy Floit helping a student
A Few Words from a Relatively New Volunteer

By Cathy Floit

I remember walking into Mrs. Hertzberg’s 3rd grade class at Parkwood Elementary in late November 2017. Was I ready for this? I had passed a background check and I had a Power of One badge. Was I nervous? Yes! Was I excited? Yes! Would I be useful? To be determined.

I met Terry Monette, Power of One Program Coordinator, when she staffed a table at a craft fair in 2017. She was looking for new volunteers, and I was looking for a volunteer opportunity. I signed up for an interview, at which I filled out a registration form, an Interest Inventory, and gave permission for a background check.

Power of One is a wonderful program sponsored by the Shoreline and Lake Forest Park Senior Center and affiliated with Shoreline Public Schools since 1996. Volunteers share their time and talents in classrooms from preschool to high school throughout the district, in libraries, and in the Echo Lake School Native Plant Garden. Power of One matches volunteers with a school’s needs, suited to the volunteer’s interests and strengths.

Mrs. Hertzberg's class

Terry soon matched me with Mrs. Hertzberg’s class, where I started late last November. I also volunteered to help Donna Franklin, a long-time volunteer and steward of the Native Plant Garden. I started at the garden in early 2018. I was thus privileged to work with two amazing women, teacher Diane Hertzberg and volunteer extraordinaire Donna Franklin.

It takes practice to move around the room and spend
just the right amount of time with each student.
As a classroom volunteer, I worked with individual students on reading and writing, with small groups, helped with art projects, and much more, whatever the teacher needed.

In the Garden, the Green Thumb Club members, 4th, 5th and 6th graders, volunteer their time. Power of One volunteers work with Donna Franklin in supervising the kids as they learn the many aspects of caring for a garden. A partnership of young and mature volunteers is created. We hope to host an annual garden tour every May.

The Green Thumb Club maintains the Native
Plant Garden at Echo Lake Elementary
Photo by Terry Stevens-Ayers
What to say about the kids? The kids are challenging, fun, creative, exuberant, silly, well-behaved (or not), loud, shy, eager to learn and eager to work in the garden. I often returned home exhausted after two hours of volunteering. I marvel at the teachers who do this all day, all week, all year. They need our help.

How do I feel after my first months as a Power of One volunteer? I had a blast! And, I think I did help, at least a little. We can all help. Volunteer! Power of One is a great way to engage with your community, to assist our dedicated teachers, and to help nurture young people and a garden.

Volunteers can apply at any time by contacting Terry Monette, the expert at determining where the school system can best use your talents. Email Terry, or call 978-505-1709.


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