Family volunteers help foster an alignment between home and school life, underscoring the holistic approach to education that is a pillar of Montessori philosophy. Through the years, volunteering at Riverbend has taken many forms, and as a young school we are still finding the volunteer model that works best for us and our community. In updating to this new model for our volunteer program during the 2021-22 school year, our goal was to provide more accessibility for all families who wish to be involved, taking into consideration that our community members have varying degrees of availability.
Today, Riverbend’s Power of Community (RPC) is our family volunteer program made up of four branches: Family Connection; Outreach; Service Learning; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Each branch has a Community Group Leader (CGL) and a Riverbend staff liaison to provide support and guidance throughout the year.
What happened to Room Parents?
In response to volunteer feedback received in 2021, and to better accommodate families with competing demands on their time, we have restructured and decentralized the Room Parent role to better fit individuals serving in this capacity. Formerly Room Parents, the Family Connection branch of the Riverbend Power of Community (RPC), is now made up of 3 committees: Community Connectors, Social Planners, and Faculty and Staff Appreciation.
What is the time commitment for a member of the RPC?
Each branch of the RPC is different, but most are expected to meet approximately 3X/year in addition to their programming. Meetings can take place on campus, space permitting, or via Zoom.
Does the RPC have a budget?
The School does provide a budget to the RPC branches to conduct programming and achieve their goals. In addition, a percentage of proceeds from Riverbend’s school store support the RPC.
I can’t commit to a long term role. Are there volunteer opportunities outside of the RPC?
Yes! You can help with the occasional event set-up and breakdown, serve as a field trip chaperone (pending valid CORI check), or make an on-campus presentation to one of our Upper School classrooms on a topic of your expertise.
The School also has an Extensions program, launched in 2019 with the purpose of extending our already rich curriculum. Extensions allow parents and family members of diverse interests and occupations to share experiences that challenge, inspire, and engage our Upper School students. These experiences can take on many forms: speakers, hands-on experiences/projects, or trips to inspiring places.
Some previous Extensions have included: LE’s visit to Whitin Observatory; a visit to MS by WWII veterans; an electronics “take apart” at Olin College of Engineering; a medical illustrator; a grandparent discussed his work on the Apollo mission; a tour of an orthopedic surgeon’s pediatric rehab; a lawyer discussing government power and mask mandates; a genetics counselor (during a genetics unit); and a cancer researcher (during MS’s study of cell division).