Family engagement with school has a significant, positive, causal effect on children’s academic achievement, regardless of race, class, or age.
But the barriers to engagement are many and varied—language and communication challenges, differing cultural expectations, schedule conflicts, financial stressors, and more.
Even when schools and academic programs prioritize outreach to families, they may not have the capacity for sustained, individualized relationship-building with every family who needs it.
That’s where Connections volunteers from Empowering the Ages come in.
Skilled volunteers age 50+ who are recruited, trained, supervised, and continuously supported by Empowering the Ages staff.
Build a personal connection with pre-K/Head Start students and their families, referred by school staff.
Whenever it’s convenient for the families and volunteers—we specialize in flexibility and working around the families’ busy schedules. We start working with families in the fall/winter of the pre-K year, and wrap up in the spring of the Kindergarten year, helping make the transition from pre-K/Head Start into Kindergarten/elementary school smoother.
Weekly online sessions with the volunteer and child—plus: phone, text, or whatever communication method works best for families.
- To get to know families and connect with them in a respectful, personalized and proactive way.
- To supply fun educational materials to families, and model ways to read and play with children
- To provide one-on-one attention and school-readiness support to children, enhancing their literacy, math skills, and overall confidence
- To provide parents information about the school system and available resources, in whatever way they prefer.
- To talk with parents about their goals for their children, and collaborate on how to achieve them.
- To empower families to be engaged in their children’s education—not just in pre-K, but for years to come.
Interested in volunteering? As a volunteer, you will:
- Get training, ideas, and regular support from ETA staff and your peer group of volunteers.
- Check in weekly by Zoom with your student, at a mutually convenient time, to talk, read, and get to know each other.
- Check in periodically with the student’s parents/caregiver, to hear their goals for their child, to strategize together on advocating for the child, and to share information and community resources.
Commitment is 1.5-2 hours per week for 18 months (less in the summer months). This includes time spent with your student as well as time spent in a regular group check-in with ETA staff and your peer volunteer group.