Archive for Wednesday, July 5, 2006

School volunteer center makes move to temporary quarters

July 5, 2006

Earleta Morey is always looking for more help.

Morey directs the Tonganoxie school district's volunteer center.

And even though the center is undergoing a temporary change of location, its projects will continue.

Normally, the volunteer center is housed in the north end of the Quonset hut near the grade school. But, with school construction occurring, the volunteer center's office has been moved into a small area in the high school automotive shop classroom.

But in January, when the school district's $25.3 million construction project is complete, the volunteer center will move back into its original quarters.

Though she's temporarily housed in a cramped space, Morey isn't complaining. When she moves back to her former office space in January, the room will have been remodeled, complete with new air conditioning and heating.

Meanwhile, this fall, Morey said her group of school volunteers will continue their normal work, albeit out of a different facility.

Morey said she appreciates the volunteers who help at the center, and added she's always glad to welcome additional volunteers.

The center's volunteers assist teachers and students in various ways.

Volunteers might tutor children in math or reading, or they might work in the volunteer center, making educational items that teachers can use in their classrooms.

How you can help

To volunteer at the Tonganoxie school district's volunteer center, call (913) 845-2646.

Volunteers laminate bulletin board items for teachers so they last longer and they make dye cuts that teachers can use in the classrooms.

There's something for all volunteers, Morey said.

"A lot of the people like to work one-on-one with a student or in a group activity with students," Morey said. "But a lot of them like to come out and work with us adults and get projects taken care of."

And the volunteer center, which receives operating funds from the school district, also raises money for itself.

"We have our own budget," Morey said, noting that the center also raises part of its own money by holding an autumn craft fair and by sponsoring after-school classes -- such as dance, art, chess and Spanish -- for students.

"We pay our instructors, and with money left over, we use it to buy supplies for Christmas time so that students can make presents for their parents," Morey said.

Also, she said, the center receives help from local organizations and businesses. For instance, she said, the two local PEO chapters donate money to buy books to give to the children. Midwest Carpet donates ceramic tiles the children can use in making crafts. B&J Country Mart donates food items for projects and local flower shops donate ribbons and other craft items needed for projects.

And when additional supplies are needed -- whether to use in the center or for the teachers in their classrooms -- Morey said the volunteer center tries to provide them.

A yearly project the center sponsors relies on Peachez Joles' artistic talents.

"I draw the silhouettes of all the seniors," Joles said. "Through the volunteer program, we get them laminated."

And three times a year, the volunteer center, often assisted by PTA members, distributes books to children in the Reading is Fundamental program.

Morey said the volunteer center has been in operation for about 30 years. And it seems anymore, she said, that, especially considering the school district's increasing enrollment, there aren't enough volunteer hands to do the work.

She would like to get the word out that more volunteers are always welcome.

"There is probably somebody walking down the street that would be willing to do that," Morey said. "You just have to ask them."

Meanwhile, Morey said she looks forward into moving the center back to its original location.

"I think it will be well worth the wait," Morey said.

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