Volunteer Program Overview
The Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) program began in 1972. Yearly there are approximately 40,000 volunteers in our schools. Last year the hours donated represented approximately $25 million dollars’ worth of services to our schools by the community. What cannot be measured however is the intrinsic value of the services volunteers bring to the students. The encouragement, the patience, and the boost in self-esteem are immeasurable and critically important to students.
This community support means that thousands of students have received the individual attention so vitally needed to help them find success. Hundreds of teachers have been offered that “extra pair of hands” that is so gratefully appreciated.
The volunteers in our schools are well-trained, dependable community people. They provide a service to our teachers and students and also learn about our educational program. They realize the importance of early education, the emphasis on individualized programs, and how time-consuming teaching can be.
Any person interested in becoming a school volunteer may do so by contacting the volunteer coordinator at the desired school or by calling the School Volunteer Program Office at (561) 434-8789. There is a volunteer coordinator at each school center who will be happy to meet with the volunteer. Volunteers will be asked to complete a volunteer application listing their skills, interests, preferred location, grade level and type of volunteer service desired. The volunteer coordinator will provide a volunteer orientation and any training necessary for the volunteer assignment.
The qualifications needed to be a school volunteer are only a personal desire to help, a sincere interest in students, and an ability to follow school procedures and policies, and a willingness to make a definite time commitment. The teacher or the volunteer coordinator will provide any training that is needed. A teaching background is not required as volunteers work under the direction of a school’s professional staff.
The volunteer has the opportunity to select the day and time that they are available to volunteer and the school will try to work with that schedule. We only ask that once you make a commitment, that you keep to your assigned schedule since the teachers and staff have planned according to the time that you have agreed to help.
One area that we do look for volunteer assistance is in mentoring. Getting involved in mentoring is an opportunity to make a measurable difference in the lives of students and in turn, in the economic future of your own communities. This effort can ensure that Florida’s most vulnerable citizens receive a quality education.
Statistics show that a young person who meets with a mentor is:
• 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
• 27% less likely to begin drinking alcohol
• 52% less likely to skip school
• 33% less likely to engage in a fight
National studies confirm that mentoring has many positive effects on students, including higher grades in schools, better attendance of classes, improved behavior in school, a reduction in the use of illegal drugs and alcohol and improvement in self-confidence and personal skills. Mentoring a young person is truly as simple as being a friend. Through consistent one-on-one relationships, mentors provide guidance and support to help young people reach their fullest potential. Mentoring takes as little as one hour per week, but its impact lasts a lifetime. There are thousands of children in Palm Beach County waiting to be matched up with a mentor or tutor. Having an adult mentor makes a big difference in the life of a child; it reinforces the message that education is important. Every child deserves that, but not all children have access to an adult role model.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. SAID
“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
We welcome each and every person into our schools and heartily endorse participation in our Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) program. We will work hard to make certain that each volunteer has a successful, rewarding, and satisfying experience.