Classroom volunteers needed in Northwest Valley

Posted 11/11/19

With many schools in the West and Northwest Valley still actively looking for classroom volunteers, Your Experience Counts is offering a special orientation and training designed for winter visitors …

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Classroom volunteers needed in Northwest Valley


With many schools in the West and Northwest Valley still actively looking for classroom volunteers, Your Experience Counts is offering a special orientation and training designed for winter visitors and other first-time volunteers.

“Even serving for just four or five months of the school year, teachers and administrators report that our seasonal volunteers can have a significant impact on student learning,” said Mike Beardslee, YEC Program Manager.

The YEC volunteer training for winter residents and other new members is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9 at the Washington Elementary School District office in Glendale, 4650 W. Sweetwater Ave. Pre-registration and YEC application is required to attend. The location of the training in the North Valley is designed to recruit and train volunteers for 14 immediate openings in the Dysart Unified School District and Imagine Desert West charter school.

A program of HandsOn Greater Phoenix, YEC also provides volunteers for the Washington, Osborn, Balsz and Mesa school districts. The program served nearly 4,000 students in 25 schools last year.

Linda Cummiskey, a winter resident, made the seasonal move to Arizona in early November from her home in Colorado and has returned to Moon Mountain Elementary (Washington School District). She is partnered again with resource teacher Traci Auten and is supporting fifth-grade students with reading and math. Ms. Auten, in her fifth year of teaching at the school, said of Ms. Cummiskey: “She was amazing last year. She taught them strategies and skills they needed to complete their math work. She really connected with the students.

“The winter and spring months are a perfect time to be at the school. There is a lot going on.”

Ms. Cummiskey is in the classroom several days a week and assists individual students and small groups.

“While I was still working, I had an opportunity to serve as a volunteer with a group called Girls Exploring STEM,” said Ms. Cummiskey. “I was looking for a chance to continue working with students in Arizona and was introduced to Your Experience Counts.”

Citing a number of student achievement success stories from last year, Ms. Auten said of Ms. Cummiskey, “When a volunteer can connect with a student like she does, it is more likely they will try harder because someone invested in them.”

No prior teaching experience is required to be an effective volunteer, according to Mr. Beardslee.

“We value life and work experiences, a passion for helping children learn and an interest in specific subject areas,” he said. “We provide the training to boost volunteers’ confidence and capabilities to support classroom learning.”

Many volunteers are retired from business, military or education; and some are stay-at-home moms, college students or work part-time. Volunteers typically spend one or two days, 2–10 hours a week, in classrooms.

For more information about training or to volunteer for the rest of the 2019-20 school year, contact Mr. Beardslee at; 623-223-9248; or submit an application at