When she agreed to become the head volunteer for her school’s breakfast program 13 years ago, Linda didn’t have the foggiest notion of the long adventure that lay ahead. At the time, she was a member of the school’s governing board, which is why the principal approached her about taking over the reins of the breakfast program.
In this capacity, Linda supervises a team of volunteers so that breakfast gets served every morning without fail and the program runs smoothly and efficiently.
“Routine is important. So are organization and proper storage. A place for everything and everything in its place!”
She takes her role as head volunteer very seriously. She sees it as an opportunity to give back to the community and to build relationships with other volunteers.
“We actually do things together outside of the school. It’s such a great team!”
If you ask her to describe what makes a good volunteer, Linda will tell you it’s someone who is kind, caring and sensitive enough to “manage” all the kids that come in hungry in the morning.
As Linda explains so well, there are plenty of reasons why parents sign their children up with their school’s breakfast program:
“Lots of parents have to get to work early. With us, their kids can eat breakfast later, take it easy and hang out with their pals!”
Not only is the program a great help for time-crunched moms and dads, but the 149 students who use the service also get the chance to eat together, make friends and enjoy special moments as a group, like when everyone joins in to sing happy birthday to someone.
When asked to describe some of her experiences, Linda shared this with us:
“Three children from the same family were enrolled in the program. When they first started, they weren’t particularly cooperative. They actually had a reputation for being ‘difficult.’ But as the year went on, they started to mellow and their behaviour improved. I’m sure the relationship we built with them helped and had an impact on other aspects of their life, like how they did at school.”
Linda sometimes bumps into her young charges outside of the breakfast program environment – out shopping for groceries, for example: “When they see us volunteers, some kids run over and give us a big hug – to the great surprise of their parents, who don’t necessarily know who we are!”
And Linda is already starting to have an impact on a second generation of grateful kids.
“A couple of times, I’ve served the children of people who used to come to the breakfast program every morning.”
She notices that the number of registrations goes up as the school year progresses.
“There’s no reason to turn any child down. Everyone is welcome!”
For Linda, seeing happy, smiling and well-fed children every morning is definitely one of the most rewarding parts of the whole experience.