This week, April 19th – 23rd is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and those of us who work in K12 education know there’s a great deal that we owe to the volunteers who work with our schools and students. Yes, it’s true that the meter on volunteer hours dropped dramatically due to COVID, and the “no access” rules that most schools put in place kept a lid on volunteers’ ability to lend a hand.
But here’s the thing. The people, whether working virtually since last April, or not, have reliably stepped up to supplement and support campus staff for years. They may have taken a break since Spring 2020, but they are coming back, because they are committed to helping students. And the appreciation we show them needs to recognize that the time is coming when schools will need volunteers at an even greater level of commitment of time and effort than before.
So as National Volunteer Appreciation Week winds down, reach out to those volunteers who still fill your lists of active volunteers from before the pandemic. Let them know where you stand in your planning process for bringing them back. Let them know you appreciate their past contributions and look forward to their involvement in the near future. Motivate them to work with your school, district or organization and recommit to supporting your schools and students, by sharing plans and goals for next school year. These people are an invaluable resource, and set an example for your community both inside and outside of your schools. Let them know how much they have been missed, how much they mean to your organization; how you look forward to their return and how much they are appreciated.