By Pfc. Lee Min-hwi (USAG-Yongsan)June 3, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Nearly 100 volunteers, teachers and school officials gathered at the Seoul American Elementary School's cafeteria May 29 to recognize the school's volunteer corps.
"It takes, as Hillary Clinton said, a village to raise a child, and that's exactly how we feel," said Donna Kacmarski, SAES principal. "The whole community helps us raise these students, and all of their work is so cherished."
She told the gathered crowd how "precious their volunteers are. Without you, everything we have now could not have been possible. Home, school and community have been working together and made each and every one our treasures for all and especially the children."
Each volunteer received a certificate of appreciation, a letter of appreciation, a yellow rose, and a coin during the activity, which school officials call the Volunteer Tea.
The theme for this year was "Volunteers are a Treasure," and each table sported small paper treasure boxes and golden coins.
The school boasts 431 volunteers from all corners of Yongsan who help in the classrooms, library and cafeteria; on field trips and special projects and celebration events; and during recess.
Kindergarten teacher Joanie Rasmussen said during her 13 years of teaching she counts on volunteers. "Every year I utilize as many volunteers as possible. The volunteers are always there ready to help. Especially in the kindergarten, we need many volunteers. Without them, I cannot do my job."
One of these volunteers is Tracey Woodcock, who works as a hospitality chairperson. She coordinated luncheons and hospitality events that show appreciation for the staff or faculty and helps organize social events that welcome new students.
"I had a wonderful time," she said of volunteering. "I was able to meet the teachers and get to know them as people, become familiar with other parents and know the students better. I felt I had a real say to what happen around the school. That was a real benefit to my child, too."
Chad Lucy is another volunteer, helping in classrooms and library and working as a school counselor.
"I usually work with other school counselors to teach the children and help them become public speakers. It is just great to be appreciated," Lucy said. "There is nothing more rewarding than working as volunteers in schools."