Seniors: Schools Need You and Your Experience
Laguna Woods Village in Laguna Woods, California is a client of mine. It is home to 18,500+ people 55+. A large percentage are between 70 and 85. When the residents were asked some of the keys to their energy, vitality and keen ninds they almost universally answered that they continue to contribute to society and to the communities around them. They feel needed and vital. How many times are people with disabilities, or those who are aging get cast aside as not being needed and valued; but rather someone that is to be catered to or babied? This is one of the most damaging perceptions you can have of our 70+ years citizens or those with disabilities.
Not only are seniors working into much later years, they have untapped experiences to share. With the current state of public schools: music, art and other "specials" in the schools, volunteers are needed more than ever. With the current economic situation, parents who previously had time to volunteer one or more days a week have had to return to a more rigorous work schedule not allowing them to "pop in" and help out when needed.
Our children don't always have the benefit of the older generation. My children have never had living grandparents and, therefore, don't have the benefit of apprecaiting the value of older people. I've seen some children who are never exposed to wrinkled, graying, slower-moving adults and they almost seem frightened of them. What a loss for our children. What a loss for society.
Hear me, seniors - The children of America need you! You are of value! You are a treasure! You are important. You are of value. You have tremendous wealth in your life's experiences.
I never had grandparents, either. My parents were older so their friends were like surrogate grandparents. I came to appreciate learning our country's history from them. Their personal stories were my American history lessons. I learned more from them than in any classroom or book.
Our schools in Portland, Salem and surrounding areas are cutting back more and more on the 'electives' that round out a human being and stimulate learning. Art, music and physical education can be mistakenly regarded as frivilous, optional, or a fun choice. They are NECESSARY to expanded learning. They are necessary to stretch our children's brains to approach the basic math, reading and science subjects from other angles.
This is where you - valuable seniors - come in. Your local schools need you to help teach art, music, reading. Our school, Raleigh Hills School in Beaverton has a fabulous ArtLit program. But, parent volunteers are unable to keep up with the volunteer demands to keep these programs running. We've raised the money, but need people to help keep it going.
Plesase consider contacting your local schools to see how you can help. Where are they falling short with volunteers? Reading? Music? Art? Math tutoring? Most of the time the tasks are planned out, straight-forward and need simple implementation - but it takes people to do it. Teachers are working with reduced days and cramming as much in to stay on top of the ever-looming test scores. Our children need you. They need these special programs to continue on their paths to be full humans that will contribute to society.
Do you have friends who bellyache that there is nothing to do and mope around on the pity pot? Be a good friend - kick them in the fanny and challenge them to get out of themsleves, their self-pity, and do something for others through the gift of their time. No money required.