Coed, independent, PK-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Volunteering at Shorecrest

It’s hard to imagine a more powerful team than school and parents working together for the good of children. That’s why serving as a parent volunteer is so vital to enriching your child’s education at an independent school.

How the school benefits seems obvious enough. Depending on the school’s needs, you may serve as a classroom aide, field trip chaperon, or creative consultant for plays or arts festivals. You may provide a helping hand at special events, such as athletic events or parent meetings. Or you may contribute your unique perspective to high-level decision-making as a board member.

But perhaps you never thought about why volunteering can be so beneficial to you as a parent.

For one thing, it lets you meet other parents who can give you deeper insights into the lives of your children and their classmates. (How much time do other kids spend on their homework? What projects and events are coming up that you haven’t heard of? And when your child says, "Everybody else is doing it”—are they really?) Meeting fellow parents may also enhance your professional connections and personal friendships.

For another thing, volunteering lets you really get to know your child’s school: who the staff and volunteer leaders are, why the school does what it does, and how the mission is carried out.

But perhaps most important, volunteering is an expression of your interest in, and commitment to, your child’s daily life. Here’s advice on how to make the most of volunteering for your school.
  • Start by volunteering for an existing task. Don’t leap in with your own project until you’ve found out what the school says it needs. True, you know your own child. But the school knows its own culture. Ideally, the school will make your proper role clear, including helping you distinguish between your positions as a parent and as a volunteer. Especially in the classroom, remember that you’re there for the entire group, not just your child. (In fact, some schools find it problematic to have parents in the classroom. In this case, respect the decision and find other ways to participate.)

  • Avoid parent cliques. Even if you arrive at the school already involved in a particular social circle, don’t limit yourself. Experiment with opportunities that put you in touch with a wide range of parents. In addition to broadening your experience, this will make you a role model for your kids.

  • Shape your volunteering to fit your ability to pitch in. Obviously, volunteering is difficult for two-career families with no time to contribute during the day. In this case, let the school know you’re interested in activities that take place outside of business hours or can be done from home. Or seek out a short-term project, such as hosting a dinner.
  • Volunteer your expertise. Many schools appreciate help from parents experienced with legal matters, real estate, or insurance. This kind of volunteering may be especially suitable for working parents.

  • Consider the many ways to help with fund-raising. This may be as simple as pitching in on the yearly auction, making annual fund calls for the phonathon, or serving on the development committee. Some parents even come to enjoy asking for money on behalf of a cause to which they feel committed. (Yes, really.)

  • Realize that as your children grow and change, so will your relationship to their school. Through about fifth grade, it’s a feather in a young student’s cap to have parents around school to help in the classroom, chaperone field trips, and make scenery for the school play. But this delight may change to dread by seventh grade. Sometimes older kids no longer want to be seen with Mom and Dad, and the teachers no longer need help in the classroom. The solution for parents who still want to be involved? Make the shift into school-wide activities, such as parent association meetings, the auction, or fund-raising.
(Reproduced with permission from Gifts That Give Back, a publication of the National Association of Independent Schools)

Become a Parent Ambassador!

Help us welcome new families to Shorecrest and make them feel a part of our school community! The Admissions Office needs several volunteers per grade level to make welcome calls to new families over the summer. If you're interested, fill out the form below.
The Shorecrest Parent Association (now the Shorecrest Community Association) created the Janet Root Volunteer of the Year award in 1984 to recognize the parent or parents who best model the spirit of volunteerism of Janet Root, an iconic member of the Shorecrest community. The award is presented annually at the Spring Volunteer Breakfast.

Janet Root started as a parent volunteer at Shorecrest in 1978, and developed the school’s cultural enrichment program. As part of her 40 year span of volunteerism, she started the Picture Lady and Gentleman program and a Music Parent program in 1983 and Chaired the Arts and Humanities department for many years.

Meet last year's award winners here.

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.