Friday, October 24, 2014

It takes your help too

12/11/2013

I’m so glad to see Ottawa’s Communities in Schools get some well-deserved attention recently, from publicity in the paper to fundraising from the community. Many people might have just recently heard of Communities in Schools, but the organization has been making a difference in Ottawa for several years now.

Communities in Schools is a program focused on student achievement and dropout prevention, founded on one simple idea: Students have needs, and communities have resources to meet those needs. There are some key people who connect students to resources, namely the director, the site coordinators and board members. But the whole idea behind this organization is that every member in our community has something to offer. I think it’s easy to read the stories in the paper and be happy that there are people — other people — in our community who give to our students. But the Communities in Schools mission is to surround students with a community of support, and that takes my help and yours.

I’m so glad to see Ottawa’s Communities in Schools get some well-deserved attention recently, from publicity in the paper to fundraising from the community. Many people might have just recently heard of Communities in Schools, but the organization has been making a difference in Ottawa for several years now.

Communities in Schools is a program focused on student achievement and dropout prevention, founded on one simple idea: Students have needs, and communities have resources to meet those needs. There are some key people who connect students to resources, namely the director, the site coordinators and board members. But the whole idea behind this organization is that every member in our community has something to offer. I think it’s easy to read the stories in the paper and be happy that there are people — other people — in our community who give to our students. But the Communities in Schools mission is to surround students with a community of support, and that takes my help and yours.

You might not have a flexible work schedule that allows you to help out at Senior Day on the Job. You might not have medical or dental expertise to donate. But I guarantee you have something you can give to change the life of a child in our community. You could “like” Communities in Schools of Ottawa on Facebook to be alerted when they need something specific — be it volunteers, clothing or household items for students who were recently homeless. You could call Communities in Schools to see how you could get involved on a regular basis. Or you could just love on the kids around you without going through a particular organization.

Ask a child what he or she wants to be when they grow up, and then ask them how they plan to achieve it. Read a book with a child. Ask them to read a book to you. Help them with homework. Go to their soccer games and school programs. Learn the lyrics to their favorite songs, even if the music drives you nuts. Involve them in making decisions. When they ask “Why?” give them a more thoughtful answer than just “because.” Catch them doing something right, and tell their parents about it. Notice what makes them great, unique human beings, and tell them how you appreciate that they are good helpers, or loyal, or cautious, or brave.

As an educator, I look forward to the day every student in Ottawa graduates, not only on time, but with a dream for their future and the tools to turn goals into reality. It takes more than the great schools and dedicated teachers we already have in our town — it takes a community of support, and that means you and me.

 

— Kirstin Olson,

Ottawa

comments powered by Disqus