Volunteering is essential to all Head Start programs throughout the United States. Eighty percent (80%) of the program cost is federally funded. Twenty percent (20%) of program cost is required by the federal government to be locally funded through in-kind donations of goods/services and volunteer services donated to the program by parents, local businesses, community members, students, etc. The success of the program depends upon active participation of parents and others in the community. Your knowledge, time and talent can all contribute to this effort.
By volunteering, you will become acquainted with our local Head Start program, see its strengths and goals, and help staff make it a fun learning experience for all.
There are many ways that volunteers can contribute to the program. Each volunteer comes to the program with different experiences, skills, and talents. Each has a unique contribution to make.
Definition of a Volunteer:
The Head Start performance standard (1304.3(20) defines a Volunteer as “an unpaid person who is trained to assist in implementing ongoing program activities on a regular basis under the supervision of a staff person in areas such as health, education, transportation, nutrition, and management.
It is our policy that ALL volunteers sign the “Head Start Program Volunteer Form” (FCP 503), which states the rules and regulations that is required of ALL volunteers. The Volunteer Form contains a “Confidentiality Agreement” section. By signing the form, you are agreeing to keep information concerning our enrollees and employees that you may be exposed to confidential. By signing the Volunteer Form, you are also agreeing that you understand that under no circumstance is corporal punishment or inappropriate isolation acceptable. A copy of the Head Start program Corporal Punishment Policy is to be given to all volunteers. All volunteers must also complete a Volunteer Application Form and a Tuberculosis Risk Assessment Questionnaire. If the questionnaire reveals a possible risk, the volunteer will be asked to go to the health department and have a TB skin test. There are copies of the “Parent/Guardian Volunteer Application Form” and “Community Volunteer Application Form” included in the Volunteer Handbook.
Any suspected child abuse is to be reported immediately by our staff which are mandated reporters. A person volunteering for our program is also considered to be a mandated reporter and will be expected to report suspected abuse immediately if a child tells that person of an incident or if they see signs of abuse. A copy of the policies and procedures for reporting suspected child abuse/neglect is given to each volunteer. An acknowledgment form of these policies and procedures must be signed by ALL volunteers.
All non-parent/guardian volunteers are required to have a background check and drug test in addition to completing the Volunteer Form, Volunteer Application, Volunteer Acknowledgment Form, Tuberculosis Risk Assessment Questionnaire, and the GA Department of Human Services Authorization for Release of Information Form. A copy of the volunteer’s DRIVER’S LICENSE is also required. Non-parent/guardian volunteers may also be required to complete a fingerprinting process.
After the results of the background check have been received by the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Specialist, the volunteer will then be sent be drug screened. Only when all results are in and acceptable may the volunteer begin volunteering. Also, if a volunteer plans to be present on a daily or regular basis, an interview session may be required with the Education Specialist or designee. If a volunteer is completing an internship or student teaching requirements for a college or technical school, they must, in addition, provide proof that they have general liability and worker’s comp insurance coverage from the institution that they are interning or student teaching for. The TB skin test must also be done at the intern/student teacher’s expense. The individual may not begin their internship/student teaching until all requirements have been met.
Special groups from the community may also volunteer for the program. However, there must be an agreement that exists between these groups and the Head Start program Volunteer Program identifying the role and responsibility of management of these volunteers. Each member of the group is to sign-in on the appropriate Volunteer Sign-In sheet when they visit the centers.
Family and community engagement are vital components of a successful pre-school program. CSI Head Start program benefits each year from the invaluable support of volunteers.
We need you as part of the team. Volunteer time equals in-kind dollars. The Head Start federal grant requires that the parents and the local community provide a 20% in-kind match to operate the program. This in-kind match can be in the form of volunteer time, space, donations, and support services. All donations are tax deductible.
Opportunities to be involved as a Volunteer:
- Read to children, enhancing their language rich environment;
- Join children as they play and learn;
- Go on field trips and see a child’s world expand;
- Train staff or parents in your area of expertise;
- Interact and develop positive relationships with young children in the classroom;
- Assist staff and families at various parent/child events throughout the year;
- Assist with various activities that support the program;
- Assist with literacy events for children and families;
- Serve as a Community Representative or Parent Representative on the Head Start Policy Council;
- Gain valuable experience regarding health and nutrition by serving on the Health Advisory Committee.
- Various opportunities to assist and support he program administration and office staff; or
- Assist with recruitment, program self-assessment, planning committees.
Opportunities to be involved as a Student:
- Student teaching and practicum placement;
- Work with technology, web pages, and software;
- Gain experience with various resources and goal setting with families through active participation with family advocates;
- Gain research, writing, and editing skills by assisting with publications;
- Use CSI Head Start program as a resource for projects and papers; or
- Gain public relations/marketing skills by participating in the family recruitment process.
Opportunities to be involved as an individual, business, corporation, or community group:
- Adopt a classroom or center and become a part of its weekly activities;
- Beautify a center as a group project;
- Donate material for the classroom, offices, or teaching staff; or
- Honor the center teachers with recognition programs.
At various times throughout the year the program may need items such as diapers, socks, underwear, shoes, jackets, and/or books for children birth to five (5) years of age. A current listing is provided or you can call for additional information.
Each spring CSI Head Start program hosts a Volunteer Recognition Luncheon honoring our many community and parent volunteers that have dedicated so much of their time or materials assisting our program. Certificates of Recognition are given to the volunteers as well as honoring our centers’ “Parent of the Year” and “Father of the Year”. The parent with the most volunteer hours for our entire program will be named the agency “Parent of the Year”.