Helping close to home


photo by Claudia Urdaneta

Freshman Aidan Carl walks a pre-K student to his vehicle. Most Hagerty volunteers help at Carillon from 2:30 to 3:30 and help students with assignments and clean up.

You try to guide a classful of elementary school students to the bus loop, but one spills pencils all over the pavement and another pulls at your shirt, trying to show you a toy Batman figurine while you yell “No running!”

Although it can be hectic, volunteering at Carillon Elementary is an easy way for students with time after school to get service hours for Bright Futures, as all they need to do is walk across Lockwood after the final bell and they can get an hour or two in before the teacher they aid leaves.

Junior Gabriella Jones is one of the volunteers, spending every Thursday and Friday with Johnathan Smith, a fourth grade teacher at Carillon. While volunteering, Jones helps students with assignments, helps clean up the room and leads kids to their bus after dismissal. 

“I want to be a pediatrician [when I’m older] so I thought working with kids would help me understand their thought processes better,” Jones said. 

At Carillon, there are more choices than just volunteering with a teacher, such as working in the media center shelving and rearranging books or in “Specials,” such as PE and art, where volunteers bring out and clean up materials for that day. Volunteers can also work with students of all different grades on math at the end of the day.

[The volunteers] learn life skills working with children. It [teaches them] patience, kindness, and empathy. Once you begin to work with children, there is just some magic that happens,assistant principal Maegan Bosa said.

While most students only volunteer once or twice in a week, some manage to find time to volunteer every day, such as sophomore Fayth Carr, who helps in the media center. She also helps with her mother, Mary Carr, who teaches fourth grade.

“I liked it because it gave me something to do after school and I did it to get Bright Futures hours,” (Fayth) Carr said.

Freshman Aidan Carl also volunteers every day, working with several teachers in pre-K with clean up and making sure students get to the correct vehicle.

It is widely known that volunteering helps people, as per the whole reason it exists, but volunteering is slightly different, since it not only helps the teachers, but the admin, students and staff of the school.

“The students get to see others in their classrooms who want the best for them. They build relationships and mentorships that encourage them to try their best and we see such great growth from our students due to this,Bosa said. 

The volunteering program began in 2005, when Hagerty was built in the place of Lawton Chiles Middle School. To sign up, all students must fill out a yearly Dividend form for Seminole County Public Schools and wait for the school board to perform a background check, which takes approximately a week. Upon receiving a confirmation email, volunteers sign in through the front office and receive a sticker that shows they are a volunteer. 

[Volunteering] helps you think about your worth outside of your day-to-day life because it’s something that you aren’t typically doing and you can see how you can [benefit] others in a way that you might not not [elsewhere],” Smith said.