Service members looking for an engaging activity on certain training holidays can participate in the Soldiers in our Schools opportunity at all Fort Bragg schools. The program was the brainchild of a Fort Bragg Schools board member and gives service members the opportunity to volunteer their time at a local school, said Dr. Renee Butler, Community Superintendent for the Fort Bragg/Cuba Community, Mid-Atlantic District, Department of Defense Education Activity.
“It’s an ever-changing kaleidoscope of opportunities that are open for Soldiers to interact with kids in a really positive way,” said Butler.
Volunteers who participate in several Soldiers in our Schools days are likely to help out with a different activity each time they visit a school. Butler said service members could be speaking with a group of students about their military specialty, helping a high school student with math homework or reading a story to young children in the library.
According to Butler, the world runs on volunteers, and Fort Bragg Schools are no different.
“Volunteerism is important no matter where you are or who you are and this is just one way people can participate in that,” she said. “It’s an important value of our country and this is just an opportunity to live that out.”
Soldiers who volunteer at Fort Bragg schools demonstrate another important value: compassion for others, said Butler. She hopes children will learn from this and incorporate it into their lives as they become adults.
Butler said the benefits of volunteering in schools are two-fold and can be life-changing. She said that some service members have even chosen a future career working with children or youth after participating in the program.
“When you help other people, it makes you feel good, but when you realize that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life, especially a young life, it’s very rewarding. It makes you a better person and it makes the other person better as well.”
The remaining Soldiers in our Schools days for this school year are Feb. 13 and May 26. Butler encourages service members to call the school at which they wish to volunteer the day before to facilitate assignments.