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Letters to the editor

November 24, 2003

Volunteer at Eastern; there's so much to do


To the editor:

Thank you for printing the article "Getting involved at home: Busy parents can volunteer outside of school" (Daily Mail - Nov. 10, 2003) which featured Eastern Elementary School. I was so pleased to see such a positive piece. The article mentioned a few support activities that could be completed by parent volunteers at home. Actually, there are endless activities and services that are provided, both at home as well as at the school, by its dedicated volunteers.

Volunteer work is certainly not limited to collating, coloring pictures and cutting out letters and shapes for the teachers' use.

Volunteers assist with many activities at Eastern, including: organizing and running take-home reading programs, creating outfits and sets for music programs and shows, providing support for athletic events, creating school directories on the computer, arranging bulletin boards and making posters and administering canned food drives. It also includes: Stamping library books, helping children in the classroom, collecting money at the book fair, preparing material for math and reading workshops, helping with vision screening, laundering, folding and sizing clothes for the clothes bank, tutoring and mentoring and organizing fundraising activities.

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While this list is not all-inclusive, its length certainly emphasizes the enormous role that volunteers play at Eastern Elementary. As a parent volunteer at Eastern Elementary myself, I see a highly organized system of assisting teachers with photocopying, paperwork, laminating and a host of other projects.

The volunteers I work with are all hard-working, dedicated people who not only enjoy what they do, but are also genuinely looking out for their children. It is also of note that some of Eastern's volunteers do not have children at the school. Some are neighbors. Some are retired seniors. They just enjoy volunteering. These are exceptional people.

There is no better way to know what goes on in your child's school than to be there. Being involved in my child's education emphasizes its extreme importance. As a parent, it is my responsibility to know my child's teacher, the work that is expected of my child, as well as know his peers. Volunteering enables me to do these things.

Eastern Elementary is currently looking for volunteers. Can you spare/share some time with a child? Eastern needs approximately 50 volunteers to tutor students in reading in 30-minute time slots.

Days and times can be flexible. No experience is necessary, and volunteers will be trained by reading specialists. Any time you can share will be greatly appreciated. Please contact Hagerstown's Eastern Elementary School at 301-739-6861.

Lisa S. Milligan
Hagerstown




Where's the funding for all those children who aren't troubled?


To the editor:

In response to the "The Learning Center" (Oct 27, front page), I can't help but question if the principle behind the center is focused on the core of the problem or just treating the symptoms?

A full $7.5 million was spent to give "juvenile offenders" a basic education. Why wasn't this attention given to them before they landed themselves in trouble?

The article states that there are 12 "students" in the class; how many public school classrooms only have 12 students?

The picture in the paper depicts a classroom full of what looks like brand new computers; are we trying to tell our youths that if you get yourself into trouble that we will take care of you with better equipment, newer books and a more attentive staff?

I'm not trying to say that we should just leave the "juvenile offenders" out to dry; I simply believe that the $7.5 million may have been more effective if it had gone towards those students who are doing the right thing and staying out of trouble. Buy new books for the correctional facility, but update and modernize the public schools first.

More funding for education programs, sports programs, after-school clubs and any extra curricular programs (in my eyes anyway) would be more beneficial, for a larger number of students, than focusing on 12 to 24 at a time.

Ridding this county of "juvenile offenders" will not happen overnight. Moreover, I agree that education is the best way to treat the problem. I just feel that in order to best take care of the problem, we need to concentrate on the source of the problem, and not the results.

Dan Sanker
Hagerstown

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