Lisa Garnes has a place for any volunteer wanting to work in the Humboldt Unified School District - from assisting in the high school library, working in an elementary school's office, or helping out with pre-school students.
Garnes is the new volunteer coordinator and an AmeriCorps/VISTA member, joining HUSD in August, taking over from Carm Staker. The district could use more volunteers, she said.
One area offering volunteer opportunities in the middle schools is with GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a partnership between the U.S. Department of Education, Northern Arizona University, and the district. The program is designed to encourage more students to attend college by keeping them in school, increasing the graduation rate, improving academic performance, and increasing students' knowledge of college options and financing.
Tutoring and mentoring are two areas in which volunteers are critical for this program and in other schools, Garnes said, both during and after school hours.
"Another middle school need is for individuals to share their special hobbies and interests with students by participating in after-school clubs," she said. "Middle school students have expressed interests in clubs related to art, chess, debate, rocketry, guitar, theater, architecture and agriculture."
If volunteers prefer work that does not involve children, they may support school personnel by working in the office, the library, or on special school projects.
Garnes has 30 years experience in social service and behavioral health, and said she is familiar with services that help families move out of poverty.
"I can tell you with certainty that a solid educational experience with career planning as well as positive social and interpersonal experiences, often occurring within the school, are the most direct routes out of poverty and towards success," she said.
Applicants can pick up a volunteer form at the district office, or go online to www.humboldtunified.com, click on Parents/Community and select Volunteer Opportunities to get to the application form.
All volunteers must be fingerprinted prior to beginning their volunteer service. Fingerprinting takes place at the District Office on Tuesdays and Fridays between 10 a.m. and noon. No appointment is necessary and there is no charge.
For more information, call Lisa Garnes, AmeriCorps/VISTA member and volunteer coordinator, at 928-759-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.