Red Deer Public School District

Volunteering is a way of life for one Red Deer Public Schools mom

What started off as spending time in the classroom, adjusting to a new routine as her twin boys entered Kindergarten five years ago, has flourished into volunteering weekly for Red Deer Public Schools parent Ashley Lehman.

She now spends one half day a week at Barrie Wilson Elementary School where her two boys and daughter attend.

“I think it started mostly because I was sad to give up my little kids to Kindergarten and I wanted to spend more time with them and be part of this new world of theirs. I started coming in to read while kids were getting settled first thing in the morning. I was really involved right from the beginning,” she said. “Now, sometimes a teacher has put aside some tasks for me to do, some photocopying, some laminating or some tidying up or a supply prep for an art project. Sometimes I’m helping kids too with math or doing a project.”

Lehman has also had the opportunity to work on some music projects, one of which included writing the school song.

“I love that! When the boys were in Kindergarten I would bring the guitar in and we would play some songs and sing. I’ve also worked on a bunch of projects with Mr. Niemetz, the music teacher.”

These days, Lehman can’t imagine not volunteering at her children’s school.

“I really like getting to know my kid’s friends and the other kids in class. When my kids talk about their friends at home, I know who they are,” she said.

Chris Good, Principal at Barrie Wilson Elementary said they are very fortunate to have a lot of parents who volunteer at their school.

“One of our most committed and most awesome volunteers is Ashley Lehman. Ashley has been a parent at Barrie Wilson since the school opened and both her and her husband Ken do a lot for our school,” he said. “When she isn't helping out in classrooms she is our on call musician. Last year Ashley and Mr. Niemetz wrote our school song and spent a couple of weeks teaching it to all of the students. Then she organized a full band to debut the song at an assembly. This year she spent a week helping Mr. Niemetz get everyone ready for the Christmas concert and organized live band for the concert as well. Her and Ken always play in the live band.”

Ultimately for Lehman, volunteering is extremely fulfilling.

“I love being in the school. It’s one of my favourite places to be,” she said. “You build little special relationships with the kids and I feel a bit of a mom to a lot of the kids.”

Lehman encourages others to volunteers for a cause that is close to their heart.

“For us as a family, volunteering is a way of life. It’s just good to serve people,” she said. “There’s so many great causes that can use a little more manpower. They benefit, but when we go out to serve you always find that you receive so much back.”

National Volunteer Week runs through to April 13th.