Volunteers are a valued resource in the Lewiston School Department and they support our schools in many diverse ways. Some work with children individually or in small groups, providing academic support. Others listen to students read, or they read to students. Additional volunteers support teachers by creating bulletin boards, photocopying, or by being available to assist in any way needed. Although this article will highlight just a few volunteer activities that take place in our schools, the complete list is extensive. The efforts of volunteers help to make the schools successful, and all of Lewiston’s staff and students thank our volunteers for their time and dedication.

Longley School’s largest and longest-running volunteer activity is the Read In that occurs every Friday morning for a half hour. Senior citizens, area business people, high school students, and parents donate their time to read to students. The program is evidence of the school’s commitment to making reading a priority and, while it is an enjoyable time, students are also working to develop fluency, listening skills, and reading comprehension skills. Students often make enough progress to read to the people who initially read to them.

Longley School also continues to have a strong relationship with the Lewiston Sun Journal. As part of a student recognition program, Leo Baillargeon helps to maintain a special bulletin board in the main lobby that displays names and photos of students who have achieved academic honor roll status. Sun Journal photographer Russ Dillingham also volunteers his time with Longley’s after-school Photo Club.

Longley’s after-school Passport Club, supervised by Barbara Carnegie, often invites volunteers to teach students about different countries or cultures. Each week, students learn about a different place; this provides them an opportunity to experience cultures that they might not otherwise experience. Students and volunteers alike benefit from this exchange.

When Monica Carney enters one of the elementary classrooms at Montello School, she is immediately surrounded by students greeting her and giving her a welcoming hug. They recognize her friendly face because she is in their classrooms most days as a school volunteer. The parent of two Montello students, Carney dedicates numerous hours every week to reading to students, helping them with their multiplication tables, assisting teachers in various tasks, and doing anything else she can do to lend a hand. At the end of the school day, Carney leaves Montello to go to her full-time job at WalMart, where she spends the rest of her night working. Carney’s volunteerism gives the school additional benefits as well, due to WalMart’s Volunteerism Always Pays program, which gives $100 to an organization if one of its employees volunteers there at least 15 hours in one quarter. Carney explains that she donates so much of her time because she adores working with children. The positive experiences she has had volunteering in the school have led her to decide to return to college next year to pursue a degree in education.

Pettingill School has a unique volunteer in Brenda Lemieux, who teaches sign language to fourth- and fifth-grade classes each week. Lemieux feels it is important for students to learn to communicate in sign language so they won’t feel intimidated by or afraid of people with disabilities. Lemieux also helps teachers with many non-teaching duties, giving teachers more time to teach.

Farwell School has many parent volunteers who devote hours of their time to help in classrooms and at school functions. Laurie Ouellette recently planned the entire annual spaghetti supper and decorated the cafeteria for the event. Lisa Sturgis, who serves as president of the Parent Teacher Organization, volunteers each week in two classrooms. She often spends time reading to the students or helping them in other subject areas such as math and writing.

McMahon School has approximately 72 volunteers who donate their time and energy to the school’s classrooms. Parent volunteer, Lorraine Bowen, coordinates the program. McMahon benefits from the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, through which Lewiston High School students tutor younger students and help them with their academics. McMahon also has a large circle of parent volunteers who assist in the classroom, doing things like helping with reading and writing and helping to organize school functions. The school’s partnership with St. Mary’s Hospital provides volunteers who help students learn their academic subjects and publish the school newspaper, Tiger Times.

Martel School has a unique volunteer from Bates College. Each week, students in Christine Richards’ fifth-grade class meet with Corrie Clark, who teaches them Portuguese. Clark spent a year living in Brazil and feels it is important for students to understand and appreciate diversity. She also thinks that knowledge of a foreign language is a great way for students to broaden their educational experience.

Many of our schools share a strong partnership with WalMart. WalMart donates educational materials and supplies, and funds field trips, such as Longley’s visit to Fort Western in Augusta.

Almost all of our schools also utilize the valuable relationship the school department shares with Bates College. College students volunteer their time in the elementary schools as well as the middle school, generally spending their time tutoring students in a variety of subjects, from English to history. Bates students also help in English Language Learner classes at the middle school.


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