The Value Of A Volunteer - St. Augustine Health Ministries

The Value of a Volunteer During Early Learning & Development

Walk into the St. Augustine Child Enrichment Center (CEC) and you will find a class of infants (fifteen to twenty-four months) who are curious about learning and energetic in their exploration of the classroom.  During this stage of development, they are beginning to acquire language skills and establish emotional bonds.  They are individuals with unique personalities and distinct needs, developing complex thinking and learning abilities.  Imaginative and creative play is how they learn about the world.

Teachers, Miss Shelly and Miss Mary, provide a fun, nurturing environment helping each child grow in positive and healthy ways.  “At this age, the changes in their social, cognitive and physical development are rapid but very individual,” Miss Shelly said.  “There is a lot of movement in this class and the kids want and need your attention, help and approval.”   

Meet Miss Linda

For the past eight years, Miss Linda has been a CEC volunteer, providing support mainly in the Infant II room.  She assists with lunch clean-up, snack preparation, play time, art projects, and whatever the staff needs her to do.  “The kids are just as excited to see Miss Linda each week as we are.  Having another set of hands gives us the chance to work on different areas or needs.  For example, Miss Shelly might be charting while Miss Linda is reading to a group and I am changing diapers,” said Miss Mary.

Some of the children’s favorite activities with Miss Linda include singing and dancing to “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and “Do the Hokey Pokey” among other songs.  She also reads to them, builds with blocks, plays ball, and watches the birds outside the classroom window.  Sometimes these activities are offered to individual children but sometimes interested groups join in. Occasionally, Linda spots areas where help is needed and asks if she can assist.  “During October, the children of the CEC were learning ‘everything’ about apples.  I was given the okay to make applesauce with all of the children in the Center.  The children used a food mill to make the applesauce, sampled it, and were able to take some home,” said Miss Linda.

The need for Volunteers

Ninety percent of a child’s brain develops by age five. This is why volunteers, such as Miss Linda are needed.  By sharing their time, skills and talents they are able to complement the efforts of the CEC staff in ensuring the special needs of each child are met.  

Volunteers provide an extra pair of hands wherever help is needed including serving during snack time or rocking babies to soothe and comfort them.  Volunteers can help with art projects, dance instruction, playtime, reading a book or leading morning circle time.

Miss Linda commented, “The Child Enrichment Center staff are child-centered, have positive attitudes, are friendly, and work as a team at all age levels.”  In turn, volunteers like Miss Linda are rewarded by knowing they can make a big impact on the life of a young child.  

St. Augustine Child Enrichment Center serves children ranging in age from six weeks to five years of age. If you would like to make a positive impact and serve children, we have a spot for you! Please give our Volunteer department a call at 216.939.7601 or fill out a Volunteer Application today!