Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles spotlighting area volunteers and their organizations. Click here to nominate someone.
Any school teacher, support staff or administrator will tell you they don’t know what they would do without the help of volunteers.
At Snelson-Golden Middle School, 24 individuals, trained as Parent Volunteers, soften the workload by assisting staff with menial, yet important administrative tasks.
“They are such a big blessing,” said Odette-Marie Alexis, parent engagement coordinator at SGMS. “There’s a lot of bulletin boards that need to go up, and a lot of paperwork that has to go out (for the 711 students on campus) and without them …”
One of those volunteers is Therese Prado, who says she understands how busy teachers are. “They have so much on their plate, and if there’s anything I can do to help alleviate all those little things, that’s one less thing they don’t have to focus on,” she said.
Prado served 15 years in the Army before retiring as an E6, and has a son, Darius, in the sixth grade at Snelson. She helps the school with posters and bulletin boards and gets flyers and paperwork prepared for meetings. When asked to describe a typical day, Prado smiled and said “Whatever Miss Alexis needs.”
And Alexis couldn’t be happier to have Prado on board. “She always tries to clear her schedule when we have events or functions at the school,” Alexis said. But Prado takes it a bit further. “She usually texts me the morning of an event to see if I need help setting up. Even if I say I don’t, she can sense the tension in my voice and shows up anyway.”
When asked to describe her favorite part of the job, Prado said, “Really, it’s just being here. I’m not picky.”
When not at the school, Prado spends time as a caregiver for her mother, helps an elderly neighbor with chores, and volunteers with her church, St. Stephen.
“It sounds kooky, but I like volunteering,” she said. “It focuses my energy on others, and in return, it alleviates some of the stress in life.”
Alexis said the characteristic of a good volunteer is to have “a heart to be on campus and the willingness to work and help,” she said.
That certainly describes Therese Prado.