the huntered housewife

our family life, our way


on December 18, 2015

I read what turned quite a debate on Facebook a couple of months ago about parents volunteering at schools.

Obviously this strikes a chord with me, as I run a school canteen and am always putting the call out for volunteers.

But, I refuse to buy into the whole Working Mums versus Stay at Home Mums business. No negativity or peer bashing allowed here.

There are many ways of volunteering in a school. Just because the canteen is “my baby” and my preferred option doesn’t mean it’s everyone else’s.  There are lots of other options.

There was a very funny post going around on Facebook in the form of a volunteer plea, where parents could tick the box to indicate their choice – choices which included things along the lines of “here’s a donation of the money I would have spent on a babysitter/outfit to attend your fundraising function” or “here’s a donation to the value of that box of fundraising chocolates” and “here’s a donation of $x so you never again ask me to volunteer”. We have children at two schools. As parents we know how often a call for volunteers comes out. We are on the receiving end of two lots. I am on the asking end of one lot, for the canteen.

So why do schools repeatedly ask? Simply because they need the help! I assume government funding and school fees only go so far. A lot of the extras come from the fundraising of parent bodies and canteens. Sure you can send in a donation which will be gratefully accepted and appreciated, but if everyone sends in a donation of cash instead of time then there is nobody to actually man that Mother’s Day or Father’s Day stall. Or cook that fundraising barbecue. Or coordinate that raffle or walkathon or help at the disco. Or make sandwiches or cut up fruit in the canteen or actually serve the students at recess and lunch.

So we keep on asking. Your schedule may be too busy for you to be able to assist at this function but maybe it will be clear next time. If we don’t ask, people don’t tend to approach us and say they’re available. Because they don’t always realise they are needed. They don’t realise there will be something they can do, at a time that suits them. It doesn’t have to be within set hours, I can no longer help with the things I used to do at the primary school before I started working at the high school, so I do things for them after hours. There are many behind the scenes things that need doing. Like stapling raffle tickets into booklets, like covering books for the library, like selling raffle tickets in the main street for two hours once or twice a year, like collating book club orders, like helping man a stall for an hour or two at the school fete, like baking a cake or slice for a morning tea, like helping cook the sausages on the bbq -you know those sausage sizzles at Bunnings? Volunteers cook them & serve you – could you imagine shopping there without a sausage sandwich to chomp on whilst browsing? I didn’t think so.

Let’s bring back the volunteering culture!




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