When asked to give the special gift of time during a series of recent back-to-school events, Harker parents across all school campuses generously responded by signing up in the hundreds to serve as volunteers.
Thanks to a vast network of talented and enthusiastic parent volunteers, last year more than 1,100 hard-working volunteers set new records by collectively giving well over 4,800 hours of service on behalf of students, faculty and staff. This year, parents seem poised to repeat or even best that record.
At the lower school alone more than 300 sign-ups were collected electronically via iPads on hand at a special breakfast for parents, and about a hundred more flowed in after the event. Some parents chose to use QR codes (printed on sheets of paper and available at the breakfast) which they downloaded using their smart phones.
“We also had sign-ups available at the middle school breakfast, and an upper school welcome barbecue evening event. The upper school parent event coincided with the student social First Friday which had a great turnout as well,” reported Jennifer Hargreaves, director of middle and upper school volunteer programs.
According to her, parents could socialize, sign up and browse the range of volunteer opportunities. “We’ve had over 600 volunteer slots across the middle and upper school signed up for and counting …. We get people signing up every day!” she said.
This year Harker’s volunteer department went paperless with its successful launch of a convenient, new, user friendly, schoolwide online sign-up system called I-volunteer. I-volunteer was introduced across all divisions during the well-attended back-to-school functions. For parents of all campuses, a listing of volunteer opportunities is available on the parent community page of the portal with instructions for signing up.
“Parents were very receptive to both volunteering and the new online sign-up system,” said Tere Aceves, director of the preschool and lower school’s volunteer programs. She had been working on creating the I-volunteer system for the past several years and said she is hoping to soon bring it to the now open Harker Preschool.
Yet, putting technology aside, all of the back-to-school events served as an important opportunity for parents to become better acquainted with the school’s vibrant community by bonding with fellow parents. Present at all events were current parent volunteers and advancement office personnel to welcome newcomers and answer any and all questions about volunteering.