Strong schools make strong communities and the best schools are those with good community support.

Everyone in a community can contribute to this partnership, but ideally it begins with parents or other adults being committed to helping children with reading and homework at home. Communication between parents and teachers is also important.

Helping teachers with classroom activities (cutting, laminating, sorting materials) is always appreciated. Some of this can be done at home and this is a huge help for teachers. Ask your child’s teacher about this.

With government and school system budgets the way they are, schools have no choice but to conduct fundraisers. In addition to helping a school, participating in these and other school events lets the children in your life know that you care and what you think is important. Sometimes just donating a few dollars to a school is a better choice than buying something in a fundraiser.

There is a great need in the Wilkes County Schools for lunch buddies, student mentors, school landscaping workers and volunteering in many other ways. During end of grade and end of course testing, volunteer proctors are needed to supervise testing in classrooms. Check with the school you want to support.

Communities In Schools provides training for adult volunteers to serve as Lunch Buddy mentors for children in kindergarten through third grades. Volunteers spend one lunch period a week at the Wilkes elementary school of their choice eating lunch, building a special friendship and encouraging a child. Call 336-651-7830 for more details.

Appalachian Foster Grandparents enrolls volunteers ages 60 and older to spend at least 20 hours each week with children in Wilkes, Avery, Ashe, Alleghany and Watauga counties. This often involves helping kids with learning challenges with the basics in education. Call 336-486-4898 for more information.

Volunteering doesn’t always have to be in a classroom or during school hours. There are many ways to volunteer in the Wilkes schools, and it doesn’t always have to be in classroom or during school hours. For example, PTO and athletic and band booster organizations always need volunteers for after school events.

There is a great need for classroom supplies in the Wilkes schools. In addition to usual items like pencils, paper, crayons and markers, many local schools have a constant shortage of tissues, dry erase markers, hand sanitizer and wipes, copy paper and other products that might not come to mind. Many local schools need landscaping supplies such as mulch, rocks and flowers.  

There always is a need for donations of funds to help money-strapped students pay for clothes, field trips, food and snacks, graduation regalia and more. Donations of new clothing such as socks, underwear, sweatshirts and sweatpants are needed.  School counselors and social workers are a great resource for those wanting more information on how to help. The Nichols for Kids Fund in the Wilkes schools accepts donations for these needs, as do individual schools.

At the middle and high school level, financial support of the Leader in Me and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) programs is beneficial. Volunteers for PBIS events are also needed.

There are plenty of ways to help schools with the important task of educating children. This can be accomplished most effectively by communicating with teachers and others in the schools to learn what is most needed.

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