Coordinator’s Role

Each school administrator needs a volunteer coordinator.  This is not a time-consuming job, but it does require dedication and the ability to get along with mature people.   An ideal person would be a school secretary, office manager or an interested parent. In one Grandees school, the Coordinator is a faculty member who is paid a modest bonus for the extra tasks involved.

A good Coordinator will:

1.  notify the classroom teacher when Grandees have to be absent.

2.  be available so Grandees can ask questions.

3. consult with teachers to make sure that volunteers are making good use of their time in the classroom.

4.  arrange with the administration for a special GranDees recognition day and assist the administration in evaluating the effectiveness of the GranDees program.

5.  train volunteers as needed.  See our page on “Training Sessions.”

Having a group attend an orientation is an important step between the public and the kids served.  It welcomes them and sets a tone of appreciation without which your volunteer program will fizzle.  It’s a time to clarify expectations on both sides, and make sure the volunteer knows about parking, exits, alarms, crisis procedures, handicap access, bathroom locations, rules for handling children’s requests, phones and even surveillance available.

A word about Liability

The Federal Volunteer Protection Act protects acts or omissions by volunteers while serving government or charitable entities. Check out this link:

http://www.doi.ne.gov/shiip/volunteer/pl_105.19.pdf

Also many states have additional laws that protect volunteers and institutions that use them.  Ask your Board or attorney.

Remember this about our older volunteers:

  • Grandees may work more slowly than do young people.
  • Grandees must FEEL successful.
  • Grandees need flexibility.
  • Grandees are people with years of experience and a wealth of information.
  • Grandees have established values, beliefs, and opinions.
  • Grandees are people with bodies influenced by gravity.
  • Grandees have pride.
  • Grandees have a deep need to be self-directing.
  • Grandees have individual differences.
  • Grandees tend to have a “problem centered” orientation to learning

Getting off the volunteer bus: When volunteers wish to stop serving, they may actually be ready for a different job/ age group, or site.  Maybe they  feel unappreciated.  The Coordinator should:

–Explore a different arrangement before ending the relationship entirely

–Express appreciation for the time already given, being specific about the benefits that person brought to the school.  One study has shown that when praise is accompanied by some kind of positive touch such as a pat on the back or a handshake, the praise has more impact

–Make sure that everyone parts on good terms, and wherever possible, with an understanding that the door is open for future possibilities. A phone call a month after they leave, to wish them well and thank them for whatever good they accomplished, may let you find out more than when they first stopped serving