KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
February 12, 2024
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy volunteers of different backgrounds inspire students while making friendships and a community that finds joy in cultivating a positive impact not for just students, but the people and operations of Katy ISD.
Katy ISD volunteers have fun while making a difference. Photo credits: KISD
With Over 94,000 Students, Katy ISD Needs Volunteers
At the start of the school year, Katy ISD had over 95,000 students in 75 campuses. There are many different ways that parents, grandparents, and community members can volunteer and make a difference to the Katy ISD community.
Volunteers Have an Interest in the Community
“I look at volunteering, whatever that might be, that each volunteer is a community stakeholder,” says Walter Holmes, Katy ISD volunteer and grandparent. “That is someone who has an interest in the health and well-being of the community.”
Holmes says that a stakeholder, in this case a Katy ISD volunteer, is someone who demonstrates a vested interest in something other than him or herself.
“This is an opportunity to make a strong and positive impact on the people and operations of this district,” says Holmes, who volunteers with the VIPS program in elementary and junior high schools.
This year to date, Katy ISD has welcomed 36,878 volunteers that have logged in over 450,000 hours of service. The range of opportunities to serve is great. Volunteers can help in their student’s classroom but there is so much more to be done from assisting teachers with workroom projects, to helping in the libraries, to mentoring teenage students, and more.
Many parents say that their students love them being involved. “He knows that my being there helps the school,” says VIPS and junior high volunteer Daniele Tambe Srour.
While many parents think of volunteering in the elementary schools, Srour feels that volunteering in secondary schools is more vital to the students.
Mentoring Teenagers is Crucial
“Those kids will have their life to figure things out without volunteers around,” says Srour. “Teenagers go through so much awkwardness at this stage of life, that being around them is crucial.”
Katy ISD employees also make time to give back to the district as volunteers.
Taylor High School assistant principal Grant Smith says that volunteering in high schools is a unique opportunity to make connections with students who are nearing graduation and entering the “real world.”
“I feel that volunteering in your community high schools or school district provides you with a fulfillment you cannot get back from regular work or hobbies,” says Smith, who volunteers through the Men Who Mentor program. “The sense of accomplishment when you have given back and left the world a better place that you found it cannot be matched.”
Many Opportunities to Serve
Katy ISD has many different volunteer programs outside of the typical school PTA or Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS.) And there is a need to volunteer outside of your child’s class.
“Volunteering outside of your child’s classroom sets an example of commitment to not only your child and their classroom, but also to the entire school,” says Holmes.
Men Who Mentor is a unique program just for men who are willing to be a male role model for elementary or secondary students. Men also have an opportunity to support Katy schools through the Watch Dog program.
“Our students crave consistent role models who will provide them unique perspective and weekly check-ins,” says Assistant Principal Smith. “As a mentor, there is no greater honor than being a part of someone’s journey. While the ultimate benefit lies with the student, mentoring gives you an opportunity to give back to your community and to help set a young person up for future success.”
Anyone can volunteer from parents, grandparents, professionals, and community members. However, Katy ISD stresses student and school safety. All volunteers are required to register annually through the district’s Raptor security system. This is required whether you are volunteering during school hours or after the instructional day.
According to the district, the Raptor Volunteer Initiative provides an additional layer of protection for Katy ISD students, staff, volunteers, and visitors.
Katy ISD is thankful for the Partners in Education program and all that they do to facilitate the volunteer opportunities that benefit the district.
And volunteering is fun!
“I have made great friendships, and I’ve had the privilege to make special connections with teachers,” says Srour.
To learn more about how you can get involved and volunteer in Katy ISD schools, visit their website.