CALLING ALL YOUNG VOLUNTEERS TO OFFER A HELPING HAND DURING POLISH BILINGUAL DAY EVENTS on October 10th 2015
Danuta Świątek/Eliza Sarnacka-Mahoney
As we are preparing to celebrate the first Polish Bilingual Day in the United States, an exciting opportunity is presenting itself to all middle and high schools students. They can become involved in the preparing and running of the festival events as volunteers.
Volunteering at the Polish-American community events is a wonderful way to become more involved in the Polish-American life and affairs, but also to receive credit for “voluntary work” as required by American public schools. Moreover, The Decaloque of the Polish Parent Abroad (you can view it here) created by the foundation Dobra Polska Szkola lists volunteering as one of invaluable ways to encourage and sustain a young person’s bilingualism.
Each school district has its own criteria for exactly how many hours of voluntary work each student is required to fulfil. Yet, it is a widespread practice that students in 7th grades and above with good academic record and more hours of voluntary work under their belt have a higher chance to be invited to become members of the prestigious National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) – in middle school, or National Honor Society (NHS) – in high school. Those honors are enthusiastically recognized by all college admission offices and will always work in great favor of the student.
It often happens, especially for middle schoolers, that they turn to elementary schools to fulfil their voluntary work requirements. As such, they act as “babysitters” for younger children during events where parents attend meetings or other “for-parents-only” school activities. Other popular way to volunteer in an elementary school is to help younger children with homework or to read to them. Unfortunately, number of spots available for such “helpers” is always limited and some hopefuls will not get a chance to volunteer at all.
All this said – to students and their parents — why not consider offering a helping hand during a Polish Bilingual Day festival? Not only will the volunteers have a chance to help run interesting activities and to draw informational and educational value from them, but also – a chance to interact face-to-face with a wide variety of people of all ages. They will have an opportunity to practice their Polish language skills in natural environment, meet new interesting people, gain new friends and to welcome a sense of participating in/creating something bigger than their immediate, everyday world. In times when our children so often lock themselves in the cyber reality of Instagram and Facebook, this kind of opportunity brings additional value to the child’s social development.
All interested students or their parents are invited to contact the Polish Bilingual Day coordinators in their respective areas or the editors of Dobra Polska Szkola by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: +347 475 8966.
The first Polish Bilingual Day is organized by the foundation DOBRA POLSKA SZKOLA in partnership with EDUKACJA DLA DEMOKRACJI and co-sponsored by Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the project: “Working Together With Polish Communities Abroad 2015”. It is sponsored in the U.S. by The Platta Law Firm.