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School's In? Help Out

Support Students, Schools and Families

A cool breeze in the evening, an orange leaf on a nearby tree, an earlier sunset—all the signs of the end of summer are here, which means it’s time to head back to school. And with the back-to-school season come new opportunities for service.

From supplies to sports and classroom support, there are a many ways to get involved. This year, help everyone hit the books and earn an A+ in community improvement!

Spend time at school

A lot of effort goes into making a school day run smoothly. Bus drivers, teachers, principals, coaches and cafeteria workers all come together to form a community dedicated to education. And many schools welcome volunteers with open arms! Check with your local district to see if anyone could use a hand in the classroom, at lunch or during recess, field trips and extracurricular programs. Whether you’re passing out papers, leading an activity or simply supervising, your help will go towards a good cause—the enrichment of your community’s future leaders and volunteers!

Want an even earlier start? Volunteer as an adult crossing guard, and begin your day by helping students get to school safely.

Supply students with the tools for success

For a lot of students and their parents, back to school means shopping for new clothes and supplies. But some families have a hard time affording a set of notebooks or a new wardrobe, and schools may struggle to secure enough funding. That’s where you come in. Have extra office supplies and books you no longer need? Give your local schools a call. Are you an artist? Donate some lightly used brushes, paints, canvasses and other tools of the trade—and offer to lead a workshop!

Chances are other members of your community have extras lying around, too, so start a school supply drive in your neighborhood. Ask around to see what students, teachers and administrators most need to succeed, and set up an online document to track the donations. That way, you ensure that every needed pen, eraser and calculator is collected.

What’s the easiest way parents can work volunteering into their own back to school routine? Grab an extra set of everything on your student’s supply list while shopping or gather the clothes your kids have outgrown. Rally your community to do the same, and start a clothing drive or donate to your local shelter, Salvation Army or Goodwill.

Offer your undivided attention

With increasingly crowded classrooms and a range of learning styles, some students may not get the attention they need. If you devote one-on-one time to them as a mentor, you’ll help them in more ways than you can imagine.

AARP Experience Corps matches older adults with elementary students who struggle with literacy. Organizations like Citizen Schools extend the learning day—and educational potential—for students in low-income communities.

Need to brush up before mentoring or tutoring? There are several places to hit the virtual books for free, including the Khan Academy and edX.

Foster a cultural exchange

Other perspectives can open our eyes and round out a classroom education, and hosting an exchange student is a great way to bring that experience to an international child and your own family. If your local schools don’t already offer an exchange, check with reputable programs like AFS-USA and Education First.

Raise your hand

Ready to start? Finding the right opportunity near you is as easy as 1-2-3.

Invest in the future

Smart spending and saving make for a successful future. Help kids learn the basics of budgets and more by teaching them financial literacy.

Show your team spirit

The start of school means sports season. Local recreational teams are usually volunteer-led, and coaches can always use more help. Ask about lending a hand—or a foot! The National Alliance for Youth Sports is a great place to start for training and tips.