• Springtime is for Volunteering!.....  Actually, anytime is for volunteering.

    With schools now beginning to open, we still continue to manage many of the same volunteer opportunities that we have always offered.  Most, however, until further notice, remain virtual.  Since the end of March 2020, the primary focus for this department was in two areas:

    1. Food for Students (FFS)
    2. Virtual Tutors


    Food for Students

    The FFS program, with the help of hundreds of community volunteers, has distributed more than 1,000,000 meals!  Without the help of volunteers and staff, we would not have been able to feed children while the school buildings were closed. Our volunteers have been instrumental in the success of the food program, and our plan is to continue the process until next fall.  Currently, we are distributing food boxes on Wednesdays, only.  The boxes will include a 5-7 day supply of meals.  As we transition into summer, the plan will be to continue with weekly boxes.  If you are interested in covering any of the food sites, both now and this summer, please email the volunteer department.

    Virtual Tutors

    The Virtual Volunteer Tutoring Program is a new addition to the Volunteer Department. While volunteers are still unable to meet with students or go inside the schools, they can sign up to be a virtual tutor.  The process is as follows:

    • Teachers create a request for Virtual Volunteer tutors.
    • Volunteers can review the tutor needs and then register as a Virtual Tutor based on the teachers' requests.

    Please take a few minutes to review our website and follow the process to be a CHCCS Virtual Volunteer.  We look forward to working with each of you, and thank you for your willingness to serve the CHCCS community.  If you have any questions, please email us at volunteer@chccs.k12.nc.us.  Please be safe and healthy.

    Thank you,

    The CHCCS Volunteers & Partners Department

For Teachers:

  • Request a Volunteer
    Please note, you must be logged into Blackboard using your CHCCS account to view this page.  You can login by clicking "User Options" in the upper right hand corner, and then clicking "Sign In."

For Volunteers:

  • How to Become a Virtual Volunteer

Volunteer Spotlight

  • Pals for Life

    Posted by Julie Hennis on 4/29/2021 2:30:00 PM

    When the schools closed down back in March 2020 due to Covid-19, many of us felt we might be out for 2-3 weeks. More than a year later, though by no means back to business as usual, schools have reopened and the staff has returned to work. With people now getting vaccinated, there actually seems to be hope on the horizon that there may be an end to this pandemic in the very near future.

    The pandemic has affected everyone, but perhaps no one more than children and senior adults. Both age groups found themselves in a position of not being able to get out and socialize which led to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Children felt lost not being able to see their grandparents. In many cases, children actually lost a grandparent and found comfort in sharing stories with their senior pals. The senior population also felt isolated in addition to being most vulnerable to the virus.

    Raquel Harris, 7th grade language arts teacher at Culbreth Middle School, teamed up with Linda Kroger, another 7th grade teacher at the school, and the two, along with some volunteers at Carolina Meadows, started a pen pal project. The physician at the retirement community said that some of their residents were experiencing the same feelings some of the students felt: loneliness. On her website, Ms. Harris states: Though I don’t talk about it often, I am a teacher, blessed with 105 middle school minds this year. They are snarky and sarcastic. They are witty and wonderful. They are tired and grumpy, excited and funny. But most of all … they are lonely.

    Students were matched with an adult based on similar interests. At that point, the pen pals began writing to one another, though the emails were always sent to the teacher first before being forwarded. Ms. Harris and Ms. Kroger agreed that reading these hundreds of letters has been rewarding during the pandemic and that it has been a privilege to help cultivate these multigenerational friendships.

    “This has been such an amazing experience” Ms. Kroger said. “The students ask things like ‘What it was like to have lived through certain events? How would they handle a particular friendship issue?” Both teachers were the conduits to reading about these relationships and have been able to watch the relationships grow as the pen pal program continues. The experience has been rewarding for all involved.

    Anita reads a letter from her pen pal on her laptop.  She is holding a dog.Anita, a resident at Carolina Meadows, loved being part of the Pen Pal project and credits the teachers who made it happen. “When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded like fun. What a great idea for an assignment! Like everyone else, I had plenty of time on my hands to volunteer, but with the pandemic, that wasn’t possible. This project was a great way to volunteer some of my time, and I have been able to get to know a wonderful girl, who I now consider to be a friend.”

    Josh reads a letter from his pen pal on his laptop.“The people at Carolina Meadows are very nice”, student Josh wrote, “and it's been fun getting to know about our pen pal’s feelings and life experiences. Not only is it something for us to look forward to during quarantine, but it also is something for the pen pal to look forward to. Overall it's a great experience and I will never regret being a part of it. My personal pen pal is very kind and his emails have shown how he personally has gotten through these tough times. In one email, he did a mitzvah (a good deed) by helping his neighbor, who has a hearing loss and recently lost his wife, and gave him some fertilizer to use for his garden. Just like his good deed, the pen pal project has given me hope and excitement for our world.”

    Djina reads a letter from her pen pal on her laptop.Another student wrote,
    “I love being able to write to my Pen Pal because during quarantine we’re isolated from a lot of the world. Communicating with my pen pal has been really fun, and I’ve learned a lot about her life. Especially in this time of self distancing it’s been amazing to hear other people’s stories and learn more about their lives. It’s also been really great because I’ve been learning how to express my story through words. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to learn about my pen pal’s happy memories, thoughts, and travels.” - Djina

    One student even mentioned that he and his pal have been working on guitar moves together and recommended rock songs and guitar slide techniques to practice back and forth.

    Understanding and caring about others’ perspectives is a vital piece to the learning process. Raquel Harris and Linda Kroger have taken this moment, during a global pandemic, to raise awareness of the power of relationships despite any age differences. Whether you are 86 or 12 years old, listening to stories and exchanging ideas is the way to make connections with people. It also might change your life forever.


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