The Do’s and Don’ts of Volunteering

(This post is on behalf of my friend and fellow Austinite Karen Bantuveris and her amazing company VolunteerSpot.)

One of the best, and possibly worst, things about my sons’ school is that there’s no shortage of volunteer activities. From Room Mom to Reading Mom to Door Decorating Mom, it seems that there’s a position for everyone. (Well, except for Tequila, Salt & Lime Mom, which the meanies in the PTA refuse to create for me.) Fortunately, there’s no lack of willing parents to take the jobs, but what I’ve discovered is that you have to be sure you find the right gig for your skills and tolerance level or you might be one unhappy little volunteer.

So, to make this a good school year for everyone, I’ve put together a list to help you identify the best way to volunteer at your school. You can thank me later.


If you can’t stand screaming children, bus fumes and manure under your fingernails, DON’T volunteer to chaperone the 1st Grade field trip to a farm.


If you’re good at removing industrial chocolate pudding from suede shoes and leather handbags, DO volunteer for lunchroom duty.


If you like reading aloud, DO sign up for story time. (But DON’T read US Weekly or Jackie Collins novels to the kids because principals and school boards can be very small minded about such things. Trust me on this.)


If you enjoy whistles, track suits and Gatorade, DO join the kids at Track & Field Day. After all, where else can you do your awesome Sue Sylvester impression?


If the thought of 25 third graders high on red dye #40 and pure cane sugar gives you the junkie trembles, DON’T volunteer for the class Valentine’s Day party.


If you’d rather sit home alone cutting out construction paper hearts for the teacher, DO volunteer to be the “Help Out At Home Mom.” There’s nothing wrong with volunteering while you’re also crashed on the couch watching Bravo.


If you love hearing Miley Cyrus songs butchered by someone who sings even worse than Miley Cyrus, DO sign up to work on the school talent show.


If you can’t handle 20 stage moms all insisting that their tone-deaf child be the headliner, DON’T sign up to be the school talent show’s director.


If you like to be in charge and take on tons of responsibility, DO sign up for a PTA board member position.


If you don’t like to be in charge and take on tons of responsibility, DON’T be shy to join me in the ladies room during PTA election time. I always have plenty of tequila, salt and lime in my stall.

I really hope these tips help everyone have a wonderful, relaxed year. Remember, volunteering is one of the best things you can do for your school. But knowing the right way to volunteer is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And your very fragile mental health.


Here’s a little information about Karen’s wonderful (and free) Volunteer Spot site. Trust me—if you don’t like getting 40,000 “Reply All” emails about what color napkins people are bringing to the class Halloween party, it’s the way to go.


I SUPPORT MY SCHOOL.. MY WAY! And I’m joining VolunteerSpot’s sponsored Back To School campaign to help raise visibility for parent involvement in schools.

Save time {and sanity} and get more parents involved at school with!

VolunteerSpot’s FREE online signup sheets make it easy to organize parents and signup to help for just about anything: classroom helpers, snack schedules, carnivals, library volunteers, parent-teacher conferences and more…. No more ‘Reply-All’ email chains or clipboard sign up sheets! Please share with your room mom, teachers and parent leaders…

Plus there’s a huge Sweepstakes on VolunteerSpot’s Facebook page!

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