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A banner created by students at the Welches Schools
School Volunteers offer some big time help posted on 05/07/2018

When the Welches Schools held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Week during the third week of April, the numbers were already impressive. Fifty-two volunteers who log into a computer system set up to track their time had tallied 1,974 hours of work since the beginning of the school year, and the volunteer with the most hours logging 420 hours.  

No doubt there was an abundance of appreciation. “It’s just a time for all of us to remember all the help we get from the outside community and give our thanks to those dedicated volunteers,” said Kendra Payne, principal of the Welches Schools. The week features a variety of ways the school offers up its thanks, including decorations, thank you notes and banners created by students, treat bags and culminating in a pot luck lunch on Friday, April 20.  

“There’s usually a pretty good spread,” Payne said, noting that the school counts some talented cooks throughout the staff.  

The volunteers perform a variety of roles at the school throughout the year, from going on field trips to helping in the classroom, but Payne noted that there are other volunteers that aren’t even included in the tracking system.

They include members of the Hoodland Women’s Club, who come in every month to help with a popcorn party for the class with the best attendance, and the hours that the Welches Parent Teacher Community Organization puts in outside of normal school hours.  

“We’ve always had a really very supportive community in terms of volunteering and fundraising support,” Payne said. “I do feel like we’ve seen an uptick in volunteerism. I think part of that is due to we have some really strong parent volunteer coordinators.” Payne noted that in the past three years the school moved to an online volunteer system, eliminating a paper packet prospective volunteers needed to fill out and reducing the time for background checks from two weeks to approximately two days.  

Meanwhile, volunteer coordinators for the middle and elementary schools help match skills that volunteers can offer with needs at the school and communicate upcoming needs. “It’s really helped kind of streamline the system,”  Payne said. Community members interested in volunteering can find more information and the volunteer application on the Oregon Trail School District’s website, at www.http://oregontrailschools. com/parents/forms/.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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