November 11, 2019

Volunteers are an invaluable resource to our teachers and students. We are fortunate to have many people throughout our community who volunteer at St. James R-I Schools in a variety of ways. 

One volunteer program available at St. James Schools is the Watch D.O.G.S. Program. This program returned to St. James Schools last year. The D.O.G.S. acronym stands for Dads of Great Students. The goals of the program are to provide positive male role models for students, demonstrated by their presence that education is important. These volunteers also provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying. Watch D.O.G.S. are fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other father-figures who volunteer for at least one day each year on one of our campuses. At St. James, we do not limit this program to just male volunteers. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and other mother-figures are also welcome to volunteer. The program is overseen by School Resource Officers Jenna Riggs and Tony Gray. SROs Riggs and Gray partner with building administrators to coordinate scheduling and identify opportunities for Watch D.O.G.S. to provide assistance at our schools. WatchDOG volunteers perform a variety of tasks during their volunteer day including monitoring the school entrance, assisting with unloading and loading of buses and cars, helping our younger students throughout the hallways, watching for safety and bullying at recess, and many other campus needs. Our schools enjoy the visits of various volunteers who come to school and share knowledge about a skill, craft, or experience. At Lucy Wortham James Elementary, these volunteers help students read in classrooms center rotations or help students with book selections in the library. For more information about the Watch D.O.G.S. Program, contact any school administrator or one of our SROs. 

Another outstanding volunteer organization is our local Kiwanis Club. This organization serves our students in numerous ways by providing weekly mentors who spend time with individual students talking, reading, and learning. Kiwanis also supports our students by organizing the Kkids program that teaches students how to serve and help others, Kiwanis basketball, Kiwanis, volleyball, as well as the latest BUG (Bringing Up Grades) initiative. To top it off, Kiwanis provided volunteers daily to assist the elementary school in safely unloading students from Scioto street to the Elementary building for about six weeks this Fall enduring chilling temperatures and rainy weather until the new bus lane was completed. If you would like to get involved in the Kiwanis Club, they meet on the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30pm. 

We are also fortunate to have a supportive local Fire Department. Chief Douglas and various firefighter volunteers served students by providing age appropriate curriculum, smoke trailer experience, and fire equipment demonstrations the week of October 7th to educate students on Fire Safety. 

Lucy Wortham James Elementary regularly schedules visits with the James Memorial Library where students are able to travel to the library for an educational experience including story time by a Library representative. The James Memorial Library is kind enough to often come to the school to provide this storytime experience when weather prevents student travel. The success of the James Memorial Library is due to many outstanding volunteers from our community. 

There are many more volunteer organizations in our wonderful community. There is not enough space in this week’s article for me to write about them all. I will attempt to highlight more volunteer organizations in future articles. We are blessed to have so many individuals who selflessly benefit the lives of others in our community. The students and staff at St. James R-I Schools benefit daily from the great work provided by our many community volunteers. For more information about how to volunteer at St. James R-I Schools, you can access our volunteer handbook on our district website at stjschools.org under “Departments” > “Student Services” > “Title I”.