We welcome volunteers who want to help students at Rochester's School 22 and School 15 - our church's longtime partners -- succeed in school. Consistent attention, encouragement and tutoring can make a difference!
Who we are:
At our peak in 2011-12, we had more than 80 weekly volunteers, ranging from teenagers to senior citizens, volunteering at our partner schools. We come from First Unitarian Church of Rochester and from the larger community. Please recruit a friend!
What is the partnership:
The UU/Schools Partnership Program recruits, trains and supports volunteers who tutor and support students at the two schools. The Partnership also raises money to pay for school supplies and student enrichment activities. We also provide food to needy students each Friday at School 22 (see below). First Unitarian Church pays a stipend to our part-time coordinator. Our program is also part of Friends of Educational Excellence (FREE) Partnerships, a network of 10 school-community partnerships that share ideas and help each other grow to better meet the needs.
School 22 (Lincoln School) is at 27 Zimbrich Street in northeast Rochester, off Joseph/Seneca Avenues. School 15 (Children's School of Rochester) is at 494 Averill Ave. in southeast Rochester, off Monroe Avenue. Both schools have a high percentage of low-income and minority students. Half of the students at School 15, by design, are refugees. School 22 has a significant population of Spanish-speaking students.
When do people volunteer:
We try to find a match between your availability and preferences (to help with reading or math, with younger or older students, for example) and the needs at the schools. Most volunteers help for one or more hours weekly during the school day (between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.), from October through May or June, guided by teachers. We also have had volunteers in School 15's after-school program (2:10 to 5 pm, certain months of the year), School 22's Saturday school (held February to June 2012) and at one-time special events (some in the evening) at School 15. People can volunteer for individual food-packing parties for our BackPack Food program, held about once a month on a Thursday night or a Saturday morning. Or, if you have a special skill or talent that could benefit students, talk to Chris Farnum about how to make it happen.
Some volunteers are only available for a one-time or short-term project at school. Let Chris Farnum know that and she'll let you know about opportunities as they come up. School 15 holds an international dinner each fall (a potluck meal for teachers and families who bring wonderful food from around the world). A bunch of us helped with set-up, serving and clean-up, which allowed teachers to talk to parents and students and fostered community. In spring 2012, a first-grade teacher at School 15 sought help with a book-making project on certain mornings over about 3 weeks, and we had a bunch of volunteers sign up to help students once or several mornings, 1-on-1, with this neat project.
For people who want to commit to helping monthly rather than weekly, the Spino Literacy Foundation has a once-a-month reading program at School 22. It requires one hour at lunchtime on the first Wednesday of each month. Volunteers read a book to a young child and contribute $2 toward the cost, and the child keeps the book.
BackPack Food program:
In December 2011, we began sponsoring a BackPack Food program in conjuction with Foodlink, meaning we help pay for bags of food provided to needy students at School 22 each Friday to eat at home over the weekend. Volunteers can sign up for one or more food packing parties (Thursday evenings or Saturday mornings), when volunteers work as a group at Foodlink's warehouse. Some volunteers deliver the food on Friday mornings.
In 2011 and 2012, we offered summer reading camps that included one-on-one reading time, crafts, educational games, songs and read-aloud story time.
The Partnership was initiated by the Urban League's call to action in 1985, which asked churches to support better education for Rochester's children. In 1988, First Unitarian Church's Social Responsibility Committee advertised for volunteers. Both prospective volunteers and teachers from inner city schools responded.
The church's Uknitarian effort -- knitting, sewing or buying warm hats, scarves and gloves/mittens -- provides many items for the nurses at our Schools Partnership schools to provide to children in need.
Contact coordinator Chris Farnum, email@example.com, (585) 241-9249. Or click in the upper right corner of this page to download the volunteer application. Choose Excel format if you're comfortable typing your answers in the grid, saving and emailing your application. Choose the pdf format if you prefer to print the application and hand-write your answers. Printed copies of the application are also available in the church workroom (first vertical holder as you enter the room), at our monthly bagel fundraising sales at church, or from Chris Farnum.
October 1 2012