Parent volunteers return to school roles

This week, it's not only Canberra’s school kids heading for their first day back – parents are also gearing up to step back into their school volunteer roles after a well-earned break.

“Parent volunteers, working through their P&C association or parent committee, are a crucial part of the functioning of the school,” says Kirsty McGovern-Hooley, President of the ACT Council of P&C Associations.

 “Each year parents step up to be a part of a community effort to support and enhance their school.  It is not just about fundraising, but creating a strong community and enhancing the school through added services – like a school canteen or parent support group. We are constantly amazed and humbled by the contributions P&Cs make.”

 “Many parents take on large volunteer roles that are interesting and fulfilling. Some are very similar to part-time jobs – organising canteens, running uniform shops or managing a major event like a fair, or regular school discos,” says Ms McGovern-Hooley.

 “While parents with major volunteer roles may be the most visible helpers, a great many parents contribute in diverse ways,” she says. “It might be helping kids with reading, assisting at a sports carnival or helping with a BBQ for an hour or two once a year. Every contribution is valuable and is a way for parents and carers to link with and build the school community.”

For Kylie O'Keeffe, P&C President at Neville Bonner Primary School, volunteering is about being part of the community and part of her kids’ schooling.

 “It’s a lot of responsibility,” she says, “but a lot of joy too.”

 “As a volunteer I’m managing three paid staff, overseeing our legal obligations and working with other volunteers to plan a year of fun events for the kids. I’m even the official owner of a registered food business – our canteen!” 

 “I’ve made some great friends and love being involved. My kids love seeing me in the canteen, or working on the door at the disco, and the other kids at the school are great - they recognise me now and chat and call out to me. It’s like being a rock star!” says Ms O’Keeffe.

“I also get a useful insight into how the school is run and get to know the Principal, which is great.”


Released February 5, 2018