National Volunteer Week Feature
THURSDAY, APR. 28, 2022
Volunteers bring a wealth of varied and diverse experiences to enhance student learning, well-being and belonging in our school communities. They are role models and motivators, generous with their time and skills. To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we’re featuring a daily profile of one of the many volunteers making a difference in Grand Erie. Thank you to all our volunteers!
|Above: Fran Sararas.|
Long-time volunteer at Princess Elizabeth Public School, currently in the Kindergarten classroom.
How it started:
In 1991, while her son was attending the former Cainsville School, Fran began helping out in a variety of capacities there. Whatever staff needed help with, Fran was ready to jump in – from running snack programs to chaperoning school trips to assisting public-health efforts with lice checks. Shortly after, her family moved to the Eagle Place neighbourhood, and Princess Elizabeth Public School became her children’s homeschool. Fran started a reading program there, and volunteered working with students in the classrooms of Mrs. Stanley, Miss Brown, Mrs. Vansickle, Miss Cutler and Mrs. Beckett over the years. Her volunteer commitment is nothing short of impressive: she’s worked half-days at Princess Elizabeth each day of the week consistently, with just a couple short breaks over the years – she took a few months off following the births of her grandchildren, and then again when the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily put a halt to in-person volunteering. Fran was back at the school the day restrictions eased and allowed volunteers to return: “As soon as I got the go-ahead, I was back the next day.”
Why she does it:
“Community is what you make of it, and Eagle Place is a great place. Kids see me in the neighbourhood and they recognize me from school. I know the kids appreciate me being there, and I think the staff do too. Not everyone sees it, but teachers work really hard with limited time to get everything done. If I can help by photocopying or laminating materials, I’m happy to be able to do that. It helps the school run smoothly. If you’ve got the heart and the time to volunteer, do it!”
Learning, Leading and Inspiring:
Over the decades Fran has volunteer at Princess Elizabeth, things have come full circle, and her daughter is now a Kindergarten educator at the school. It’s a family affair – Fran volunteers in her daughter’s classroom, assisting with Kindergarten activities, and her grandson is a Grade 7 student.
“I’ve been here long enough that now I’m working with students whose parents I remember from when they were students!”