early childhood education volunteers
Chuck has been volunteering in the Toddler School since the fall of 2016. Wanting to find a meaningful volunteer opportunity, Chuck researched openings through Hands On Twin Cities and was connected with People Serving People. Chuck was excited to be able to volunteer within an organization where he could utilize his love for children, especially toddlers (it takes someone extra special to work with toddlers!!!).
“It’s hard for me to point to one favorite memory that I have from volunteering” says Chuck. “I really enjoy the smile on kids’ faces when I see them after not seeing them for a week. I also enjoy nap time, especially the satisfaction I get from getting kids to fall asleep. Being with kids puts my head in a good place. Coming to PSP reminds me of how lucky I am and helps me make sure that I don’t take my extremely fortunate existence for granted.”
Every Wednesday I watch the faces of the toddler’s light up when Chuck enters the room!
We are thankful for Chuck’s dedication to the children in our Toddler School and have seen the impact he has made on the students during his time here.
Our ECDP program relies on the extra hands and hearts that our amazing volunteers provide to us on a regular basis. Mamie has been volunteering in our Infant School over the course of the past 4 years.
Initially, Mamie was attracted to People Serving People because of our presence in the community and because of the multiple areas to get involved throughout the shelter. She stays at PSP because of the warm relationships she has built with the staff, the baby snuggles, and the opportunity to volunteer with her family during meal service. Mamie says that her time at PSP makes her feel as if she is a part of something outside of her friends and family, a part of her community. The experience she has gained has taught her new skills, and has challenged her in ways she hadn’t been challenged before. She has also reached some personal goals during her time with us. Mamie walks out of the doors each week feeling as if she has had a positive effect on people, her community and society as a whole.
We’d like to thank Mamie for the time and commitment she has made to People Serving People. We couldn’t do the work we do without the support of wonderful volunteers like her.
McKenzie is a volunteer in the Preschool Prep classroom (ages 2½-3½) of our Early Childhood Development Program here at People Serving People.
She found out about volunteering through the Public Health Club at the University of Minnesota. She volunteered with that group for a semester, then decided to stay on longer to volunteer by herself! Volunteering here has taught her a lot about how trauma and stress affects young children and families. She found out that each child has their own personality and that they all show the effects of stress and trauma differently. Some children can withdraw and some children can become aggressive and emotional at times.
She really enjoys coloring and reading with the children. She also enjoys getting to know the children through play. She loves coming into the classroom and seeing that the kids remember her with a smile, or with a hug!
The Early Childhood Development program at People Serving People relies heavily on volunteers to assist us in providing the highest quality of care for the children attending our programs. With their help, our classrooms are able to offer a lower staff-to-child ratio, which increases the amount of individualized attention each child receives.
I recently sat down with Barbara, a volunteer in our Infant/Toddler Schools, to learn more about her story as a volunteer.
1) How long have you been volunteering at PSP?
I am not exactly sure when I first started volunteering at PSP, but I have been coming for several years. Currently I volunteer one morning a week in the Infant Room, which is a part of the Early Childhood Development Program.
2) What led you to volunteer with us?
Initially, I supervised students who were completing a service learning experience at PSP as part of a course that I was teaching. One semester, as part of my role, I read more than 90 student papers about the experiences they had in the classrooms of the Early Childhood Development Program. As I read the student papers I thought to myself, this seems like a meaningful experience and something that I would like to do.
3) Why do you stay?
I strongly believe that service to others is one way to build stronger communities. Plus, I appreciate the mission of the Early Childhood Development Program, admire the teachers, and like to hold babies.
4) What do YOU get out of your time here?
My daily life gets very busy. Spending time in the infant room helps me to slow the pace down and remember the important things in life.
5) Share a favorite story or impactful/insightful moment you’ve had while volunteering.
I remember a time when we took the infants in a big multi-seat stroller out for a walk around downtown Minneapolis. One of the babies was crying in the stroller and just couldn’t settle himself. When we arrived at the park we were able to take him out of the stroller. We took turns trying to comfort him, but he continued to cry. I decided to walk a short distance away from the small group with him to see if that might help. I rocked him and quietly sang to him, and before long, I felt him relax his breathing and settle into my arms.
The Infant/Toddler School would like to THANK YOU Barb, and the many other wonderful volunteers that give so generously of their time and talents!
Rita has been volunteering at People Serving People in the Preschool and Preschool Prep Classrooms for almost two years. She loves getting to know the children and their families and helping out the teachers in each room. She says her favorite part about working with the children at People Serving People is helping them learn to read, learn their ABCs, and learn to count. She also likes to help with arts and crafts. Rita is an important part of our classrooms and we are thankful for her!
Shirley has been volunteering in the Infant School since March of 2012. A retired nurse, Shirley has a natural gift with children and has been a huge help to the staff of People Serving People. We love having Shirley join us every week, and we are incredibly grateful for the hours of hard work she has devoted to the Infant School.