Volunteer Voices March 2019: Hoover Elementary and Garfield Elementary

So many amazing people volunteer in Oakland public schools—but too often they don’t know each other. We want to change that!

This month, we brought together volunteers from Hoover and Garfield Elementary Schools to share stories and input into our Oakland School Volunteers program.

They talked about what their typical volunteer shifts look like, and their ideas for how the Oakland School Volunteers program could have even more impact. Here are a few highlights from the conversation and group brainstorming activity.

What Does Your Typical Volunteer Shift Look Like?

“My day-to-day as a volunteer includes a lot of kids running around, but it’s great seeing kids play. I haven’t had any bad days as a volunteer.”

– Annette, Hoover Elementary volunteer

“This is my first year volunteering at Garfield, and I’m also a graduate [of the school]. Students are amazed when I tell them that, they ask, ‘What was this place before?’ They’re disappointed when I tell them it was always a school… I provide support as a math aide, twice a week, with three different classes each day. Primarily I help the students with ST Math [computer program for math learning]. I encourage them to take a chance and make mistakes, because we can learn from those mistakes and figure it out—and that’s what life is full of, too.”

– Scott, Garfield Elementary volunteer

“This is my first volunteer experience and I couldn’t have landed anywhere better, my teacher is awesome, she puts me with small groups of three to four kids who need a little extra help with reading or numbers. I also help with extra projects or prep work like folding or copying at the end of my shift. My favorite day is Science Day on Thursday, when I get to help the kids do hands-on projects like building model houses!”

– Janine, Hoover Elementary volunteer

What Could the Ed Fund Add to Help Volunteers Feel More Prepared?

• Share updates about school district’s learning goals for each grade with volunteers at the start of the school year so they have an idea of where students should be.

• Come to the school sites to observe volunteers and provide more support if needed

• Email Q & A bi-monthly from the Ed Fund reflecting frequently asked questions from volunteers

• Email the training info out for those who can’t make it in person

How Can We Build a Bigger, Stronger Volunteer Community?

• Spread the word to family, friends, neighbors, etc. Let people know how excited you are to be a volunteer!

• More volunteer meetings and parties!

• Let folks know the variety of opportunities to help within OUSD

• More outreach to businesses in the area of the schools

What Are Your Dreams for the Volunteer Program? Pie in the Sky!!!

• That every OUSD school would have at least 100 volunteers EACH 🙂 That would mean the communities are taking back education!

• Kids and adults engaged in volunteer program—start kids volunteering when they’re young.

• At the end of the year, make sure volunteers know the progress they’ve made possible for students—satisfaction will spread the word.

• Every teacher’s request is met.


Thank you Temecka, Annette, Bill, Mark, Scott, Yvonne, and Janine for taking time to connect and share your insights!

Interested in joining us for a future volunteer meet-up? Let us know »

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Mia Murrietta