In my post last week, I focused on one of the greatest challenges that I have encountered during my fellowship: finding qualified teachers to fill open teaching positions. This week, I am going to concentrate on successes that are related to the work that I originally set out to do: developing a volunteer program. When I last provided a status update on the volunteer program during week two of the fellowship, I had just finished developing a volunteer manual and was planning to reach out to local universities, businesses, and volunteer posting sites to start attracting volunteers to the CELC. Although I had some time to begin getting the word out about volunteer opportunities, I have not had the chance to actually start bringing in volunteers, as filling job openings was a more pressing priority in recent weeks. However, now that the hiring process is calming down, I am finally getting back to the volunteer program, and in just a few days I have had a couple of major successes.
First, I have three volunteer interviews scheduled and one has already taken place. The person who I already interviewed is going to be the first volunteer in our new volunteer program, and she will be starting tomorrow. I conducted my first “volunteer screening interview” with her last week, and she will spend the rest of the summer and fall semester working about eight hours a week split evenly between helping with administrative tasks and assisting teachers in the classroom. Since she cannot work in the classroom until we get several documents back, we will be spending tomorrow completing the orientation that I developed a few weeks ago and working together to develop a recruitment plan to bring in children to one of our classrooms for the fall. That said, is anyone reading this looking for a four-star childcare center? Anyway, if all goes well this week, we will have four volunteers working with our program in the near future.
In addition to individual volunteers, I have made some progress getting volunteer groups scheduled. First, Columbus Early Learning Centers is going to be a site for Community Commitment 2015. For those of you who don’t know, Community Commitment is a large, one-day community service outreach event hosted by Ohio State’s Pay-It-Forward that takes place at the beginning of the fall semester. The CELC should receive about 15-20 volunteers who will help reconfigure several of the workspaces within the building. In addition, I am in the process of forming a partnership with an Ohio State student leadership organization that will involve brining OSU students into each of our preschool classrooms once a week to work in small groups on basic literacy skills.
Over the past couple of days, I have finally seen many of my efforts to develop the volunteer program pay off. I am incredibly excited to see where the volunteer program goes during the final weeks of the fellowship and beyond this summer.