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Partner and Volunteer Highlight: Family Volunteers Give Back and Engage in Student Education

Partner and Volunteer Highlight: Family Volunteers Give Back and Engage in Student Education

The work of community volunteers is highly valued within Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). The school division currently has 5,188 active volunteers, with 3,353 of them being family members of students.

Among ACPS’ exceptional volunteers is Samya Rkaina, a Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School (FTD) parent who speaks Arabic, French and Spanish. Rkaina is always willing to help at the school and with its Parent-Teacher Association, even though she does not speak English. She has mastered a universal language: providing her assistance in any way possible. She created a WhatsApp group where she posts reminders and passes on information to the school’s Arab community. As she is also a Spanish speaker, Rkaina helps in reaching out to FTD parents during dismissal.

Volunteering at Patrick Henry K-8 School (Patrick Henry) is Tomaisha Cornitcher who has three children at the school. Cornitcher has been a volunteer at Patrick Henry for more than 10 years and is known as one of the school’s most reliable and consistent helpers. Cornitcher has chaperoned field trips, assisted with the annual book fair and with countless other volunteer projects at Patrick Henry.

“Volunteering in your child's school is important because it fosters a sense of community involvement, allows parents to actively participate in their child's education and helps support the school's initiatives and activities,” Rkaina explained.

Cornitcher noted that it takes a village to raise a child and volunteering at her children’s school is a way to do her part. “The administration does so much for our families and children that I see this as an opportunity to provide support and show my appreciation for their dedication and support,” she shared.

Cornitcher believes when her children see her in their school they display a different type of excitement, which leads her to believe they feel special by having her there. “I believe my volunteering and being there as much as possible for my children, shows them how much I am invested in them,” Cornitcher said.

Rkaina added, “Volunteering in your child's school can make both you and your child feel more connected to the school community, proud of contributing positively and engaged in the educational process. It provides opportunities for bonding, learning and making a difference together.”

Volunteers within ACPS are a vital resource. “Volunteers — whether they’re serving as chaperones, tutors, athletic assistants or mentors — are a clear sign to students and staff that our community values education and is willing to roll up their sleeves to support our success,” Executive Director of Community Partnerships and Engagement Taneika Taylor Tukan said. “Our educational ecosystem is more vibrant and our system of supports stronger for students and staff because of volunteer support.”

Volunteering benefits those who give of their time and talents in our schools. It enables the volunteer to meet new people, network and teach one’s children the value of service. Learn how to volunteer with ACPS and contact our Volunteer Specialist Kathy Mimberg so you can get involved and make a difference by helping with a wide variety of activities within our schools.

  • 2023-24
  • Partner & Volunteer Highlight