Friday, April 26, 2013

Communities Building Community: Make a Difference Today

Have you ever received a package wrapped up so beautifully that you can’t imagine the gift inside is equally awe inspiring? Today’s blog is a “wrap up” of National Volunteer Week. This package of words is about the “priceless gifts” in our schools - the volunteers that help to make Janesville’s public schools thriving environments for learning.  The employees of the School District of Janesville work tirelessly to provide more than 10,000 students with an excellent education and a quality learning environment. Our schools achieve more because they are bestowed the gift of volunteers.

The hundreds of volunteers engaged in our schools demonstrate to our community that by working together, Janesville has the fortitude to conquer our challenges and accomplish our goals. The Janesville Area Council - Parent-Teacher Association (JAC-PTA) celebrates the impact and power of volunteerism by recognizing outstanding volunteers at their Annual JAC-PTA Banquet, to be held on May 23, 2013. Here is a sneak peek of a few of the nominees and why they are considered true “gifts” to our schools, students and community.

Volunteers like Jack and Sharon Torpy are especially needed because resources and time sometimes limit the amount of individual attention each student can receive. Every first grader at Roosevelt Elementary gets at least one chance to read with the undivided attention of an adult, but more importantly a chance to connect with someone who cares. Principal Stacy Mattson speaks from the heart, “For the past 10 years, Jack and Sharon Torpy have been spending their retirement with selfless, loving, and generous dedication to making a difference in the lives of students at Roosevelt School.

Volunteers lead projects that put our students in a position of growth and opportunity. Principal Stephanie Pajerski, Van Buren Elementary, describes Tami Carlson as an advocate. Pajerski adds, “Through Tami and our PTA officers, enough money has been raised…to purchase 3 smart boards for classrooms.”

Volunteers like Leslie Wente, Edison Middle School’s Volunteer of the Year, help provide individualized instruction. Mary Orley, State of Wisconsin PTA Secretary, applauds Wente for helping Wilson Elementary 5th graders learn deductive reasoning skills, and leading Jr. Great Books groups - even though her own children attend Edison Middle School & Lincoln Elementary.

Volunteer efforts at Washington Elementary School enable teachers to become more effective. Retired teacher Roberta Blazkowski facilitates the Junior Great Books Program for students in third, fourth, and fifth grades. Third grade teacher/Instructional Team Leader Jennifer Fieiras says, “Students in my classroom ask each week, with enthusiasm on their faces, whether it is a Junior Great Books week.”

2013 JAC-PTA Volunteer of the Year Award nominees

The 2013 JAC-PTA Volunteer of the Year Award nominees are:

Nancy Bennett, Adams Elementary School
Leslie Wente, Edison Middle School
Theresa Vellella, Jackson Elementary School
Tami Troeger, Jefferson Elementary School
Kyla Raupp, Madison Elementary School
Ann Walsh, Marshall Middle School
Denise Molidor, Monroe Elementary School
Jack and Sharon Torpy, Roosevelt Elementary School
Tami Carlson, Van Buren Elementary School
Roberta Blazkowski, Washington Elementary School

Thank you and congratulations!

If you are a parent, business leader, retired senior, student or member of our community with a desire to help children and a willingness to give of your time, talents and knowledge, please, volunteer! Bob and Joan Waier were reluctant volunteers who were “voluntold” to participate in Edison Middle School’s Intergenerational Day by their grandson. Joan said, “I underestimated the students — I assumed that what I had to offer might not interest the kids or might be above their heads, but my husband and I were pleasantly surprised! We hope to be “voluntold” again!” 

Bring your passion and turn it into action!  Your energy, time, ideas, or donations will make a difference.

To get started sharing your skills and resources to help your local school, fill out and return the volunteer application or contact:

Brett Berg, Coordinator of 21st Century Learning and Public Information
527 S. Franklin Street
Janesville, WI 53548

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