It’s back to school time, which means it’s prime volunteer recruitment season here at For Love of Children. Here are just a few reasons you should volunteer with us in 2015-2016.
1. Because our students are incredible. Really, this could be the whole article. We could show you 12 faces with 12 unique stories and you’d be convinced. Our students will inspire you with their plans for the future and their resilience. They’ll impress you with their creativity, their questions, their insight. They’ll make you laugh. They’ll challenge you to be your absolute best, because these young people are going places and you’ll want to be along for the journey.
2. Because you can be a part of new things and growing programs. We’d love for you to join us in any of our programs, but in particular we’re excited to debut a new program this year at Savoy Elementary in Anacostia. Be a pioneer! Help us get this brand new late afternoon/early evening Wednesday reading program started on the right track!
3. Because you want to build new skills and be a life-long learner. Maybe you’re a high school student preparing for the SAT (did you know you only have to be 16 to tutor with FLOC?) or a college student preparing for the GRE, or perhaps you’re studying to audition for Jeopardy. What better way to keep your own skills sharp than by spending two hours every week working on the fundamentals with someone else? Maybe you’re thinking about a career in teaching or counseling or the nonprofit sector and want to test the waters, or you’re retiring and looking to stay engaged post-career. Maybe you just like learning new things. PERFECT. We’re all about learning at FLOC, and that definitely doesn’t end with our students.
4. Because you want to get to know DC. So many of our volunteers are from somewhere else. Volunteering is an excellent way to get to know your new city. Of course, we love our DC natives and long-time residents, too. Everybody can get to know the city better by visiting a new neighborhood (did you know we’re in Adams Morgan, Anacostia, Barracks Row, Congress Heights, and Dupont Circle?) or meeting new people (on any given night, there will be between 10 and 60 other volunteers in the building with you!)
5. Because volunteers live longer. It’s true.
6. Because others have laid the foundations, but you can help us reach higher. Slowly but surely, the needle is moving on educational outcomes in our city. Be a part of the movement.
7. Because education = empowerment, and it has the power to transform not just individuals but whole communities. Maybe you’re convinced you want to get involved in your community, but you’re torn between direct service work and advocacy. Well, education combines the best of both of these worlds! You get the relationships and the immediacy of direct service AND the far-reaching impact of empowering the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and change makers.
8. Because you love to read / are just nuts about math / are psyched about college and careers… and you have to share it. We love your enthusiasm. FLOC is a super fun place to be, so you’ll fit right in. We read books. We play board games and Jenga and Connect 4. We kick soccer balls in the hallway. We play math hopscotch. We excel at something called trashketball that you’ll have to come to program to understand. We write stories and illustrate them. We invent our own colleges with their own mascots and slogans and entrance requirements. We video chat with computer developers in Pakistan. No big deal.
10. Because you made it. We ask all prospective volunteers to tell us “why I want to volunteer with FLOC.” There are two kinds of answers that pop up over and over again. One goes something like this: “I struggled in school…” or “I was the first in my family to go to college… I would’ve loved a program like FLOC when I was a kid.” Another is more like this: “I had an amazing support system that got me through my education.” And both of these kinds of answers come around to the same conclusion: “And so I want to give back and invest in the next generation.” One way or another, you’re living a success story. Let’s write more.
11. Because you CAN. No, really. We promise. You can totally do this. You don’t have to have any experience to volunteer. We provide training before you start, a curriculum and/or lesson plans to get you started, and regular check-ins with our awesome staff to help keep you and your students headed toward success and having the best time possible.
Don’t be nervous if you struggled in math yourself or if you don’t remember the precise definition of an adverb. Our curriculum and training will get you all caught up. Plus, sometimes the person who struggled is the absolute best person to help somebody else.
And there’s something for every schedule! Saturdays, weekday evenings, weekday afternoons. You can definitely fit it in.
12. Because we can’t do this without you. Our Neighborhood Tutoring program is one-on-one, so every volunteer who commits is one more student we can enroll. In our Scholars program, volunteers allow us to provide more individualized support, deeper conversation, and a stronger learning environment. Will you help us reach our goal this year?
Surely you’re sold by now, right? Visit our website to fill out an application for new volunteers. (Or if you’re a previous volunteer and want to get re-involved, you can fill out this form for returning volunteers.) We can’t wait to meet you.
(Elizabeth Metz is FLOC’s Recruitment and Outreach Manager)