My Favorite Volunteer and Inspiration

Grandma Kc wrote this on June 24th, 2013 24 Replies

It isn’t very often that I do a blog post that isn’t all about Amara, it is her blog! Yet I wanted to write this so that Amara can read it years from now and so that maybe I can influence other Grandparents, too.

I love helping out at Amara’s school. I love doing things in the classroom as well as helping the PTA with special events. This year I have enjoyed picking up and delivering pizzas to the classroom; I have had fun selling fruit bars with Jenna after school; I helped raise funds selling spirit wear on movie night; I took pictures at skate night and at the Father Daughter Dance. I had an especially good time with the squirt bottles and the water balloons! The very best part of volunteering is it means I often get to be there to witness all the good stuff first hand. I have had so much fun.

Grandma J over at What Happens at Grandma’s suggested that I was…

“introducing something many schools don’t have -GRANDparent volunteers!”

While I love Grandma J she is wrong. I didn’t introduce the idea, my Aunt did. I have a wonderful Aunt that Amara has never met. She lives in Michigan and has been a Grandmother for over 22 years. Aunt Phyllis is about 4’11”, wears tennis shoes, sings like a nightingale and has a heart the size of Kansas. AND at 92 years of age still happily walks the four blocks to the local Elementary School so she can read to the students, usually second graders! Aunt Phyllis has had the GRANDparent volunteering thing down for years now! I have always loved what she does and I know she has made a huge difference in the lives of many of her students, they have stopped her to tell her so. She is thrilled that students she read to years ago will call “Hello” to her across the street or stop to give her a big hug. According to her “This is my payment!” She is where I get my inspiration to volunteer. I really hope more Grandparents will consider getting involved at school, especially if you are lucky enough to be a local Grandparent like I am. Your grandchildren really will love having you there and their friends will think it is cool, too!

Grandma Kc and Aunt Phyllis - September 2012

This photo was taken by Sandy last September when I was home in Michigan for the wedding of Aunt Phyllis’ Granddaughter.

Aunt Phyllis no longer has children in school but she continues to volunteer to read to the current group of students. She plans to do it as long as she can walk those four blocks. Some of those students probably don’t have anyone else who reads to them. She knows how important it is and what a difference an hour or two can make to those children. So even if you’re not a local Grandparent if you’re able to lend a hand – do it! It will make you feel really good inside!

24 thoughts on “My Favorite Volunteer and Inspiration

  1. Axiesdad

    Hooray for Aunt Phyliss! and Hooray for you. To everyone else out there, if you aren’t volunteering now, GET STARTED! It doesn’t have to be with kids, although that may be the most rewarding. I do mine at the local jail and I look forward to it each week. Feeling useful and trying to do some good is the best feeling you can have.

    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I agree with you that it doesn’t have to be with kids. My sister and her husband volunteer at the local animal shelter walking and playing with the dogs. They improve the quality of life for those animals immensely and feel awesome inside for doing it.

  2. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    What a role model! Every school needs and Aunt Phylis. AND a Grandma Kc. You both — plus many other grandmas, aunts, volunteers — have such a positive impact on little ones. Kudos to you both for being such an inspiration, to kids and to other grandmas!

  3. Joyce

    When the talking heads say there are no worthy American heroes these days, well they haven’t met Aunt Phyllis! God bless her! And you too, Kc, who saw something good and didn’t hesitate to keep passing it forward!
    When my daughters were in school, classroom daytime volunteering was the sole territory of “mommies.” Anyone else would have felt out of place. This needs to change! I’m going to investigate my own role as soon as the grandkids start school so I can contribute like you and Aunt Phyllis do!

    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Oh the teachers that get you are going to be so happy! I can’t wait to read all about it.

  4. April

    Beautiful tribute to Aunt Phyllis, Kathy! She is an amazing woman…and so are you! You are an awesome Grandma and an inspiration yourself! Thank you for sharing the story. Love to you all

  5. Judy@grandparentsplus2

    If I ever get to Michigan, I want to have some ice tea with Aunt Phyllis because I know I’d love her. She must be proud of you and all that you do for Amara. I heard a saying about “wearing out and not rusting out.” That’s my goal and I think Aunt Phyllis must be with me on that. 🙂

    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Hi honey, I am waiting until there are a bunch of comments on it and then I am going to print it out and mail it to her. She will love reading all the comments – especially the ones from you and April. xoxoxoxox

  6. Vicki Valenta

    One of the schools where I work has a grandmother volunteer who has been volunteering in a 2nd grade reading class for many years. MiMi is like everyone’s grandmother. She started volunteering after she was widowed. It gives her a reason to get up and dressed every day. She is there every single day and helps out in so many ways.

    More grandparents should volunteer in schools. It’s so good for everyone involved.

  7. Cynthia Meents

    What a nice idea. When I retire from teaching (soon, I hope), I think I’ll volunteer in my grandchildren’s schools. Such a nice way to spend more time with them, to keep myself busy, and to be useful!

  8. Kim

    How sweet!! Yeah for volunteers. I plan to do the same at my son’s school when he starts in a couple of years.

    Thank you for visiting my blog today. That post I wrote was written almost a year ago and you know how things change!!


  9. KImberly

    My students are always so happy to see Grandma show up. I have a student who’s dad is out of town and frequently Uncle and Grandma attend specials. So sweet.
    I wish my school was four blocks from Aunt Phyllis.
    I have two retired teacher friends who spend a lot of time in my classroom. What a blessing to my students and to me. If I can grab you and put you to work, I will.
    Across the river they actually have a program in the big city schools where they try to place a grandmother figure in the classrooms. For reading help, yes, but mostly for some TLC.

  10. Sandy

    Look how many people you have inspired! And they will inspire others with their acts of kindness. And so on and so on. I’m so proud to be your sister! <3

  11. Rhonda

    Wow..what a wonderful idea! Your Aunt is truly an inspiration. I have to be honest and say that I had never even thought of volunteering as a grandparent. With my grandson being only 2 I suppose it just wasn’t something that came to mind at this time, but you’ve certainly sowed the seed now. Thank you for another wonderful and inspiring post!

  12. Nancy aka BLissed-Out Grandma

    What a lovely inspiration your aunt is! We have been providing fulltime daycare to both grandchildren, and in September they will both be in all-day school (kindergarten and 1st grade). We’ll have them for about 90 minutes in the morning and then drive them to school. We’re thinking that volunteering will be a lovely way to keep alive the joy and satisfaction we’ve known for the past six years. That and lots of play dates, of course!

  13. Barb

    As a former teacher (and now a grandparent), I can attest to the need for volunteers to help in the classroom. The children benefit, but the adults gain so much too. Hurray for your aunt!

  14. Betty Taylor

    Wow! Aunt Phyllis is a great role model. I bet being around the children adds so much to her life and probably gives her a reason to live. When people are active and happy they just seem to live longer and be healthier.

    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Aunt Phyllis is a wonderful woman and in February she will become Great Grandma Phyllis! The wedding I went home for was for her granddaughter who just found out she is pregnant! Talk about exciting news!

  15. Joan Stommen

    Great post, Kc! As a former teacher, I know how important volunteers are! I taught 4th gr (and still sub there some days) and even these older kids loved readers! My daughter works full time….and so far she and her husband have been taking turns with 3 in Elem school now! But she has asked me to choose one day a week when I won’t sub and be at their school to help w reading and writing groups! Of course I said yes! My first thoughts were “chore?/will I do okay?/they want me to go to all 3 classes???? But after reading about Aunt Phyllis….I have a much better feeling about it. I start in January……hopefully, I’ll have great stories to share!

  16. Joyce

    I don’t think we need professionals to tell us that kids succeed best in school when significant adults show an active interest in their work. How much more valuable when not only parents, but grandparents and other relatives show up as well. How can a child choose not to succeed when the smiling faces of loved ones keep popping up around every corner?
    And there is just something so extra-sweet and accepting and loving about grandparents that make kids relaxed and happy – and productive in the classroom! I love this entire movement and want to be part of it when my kids are old enough!


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