Written by Emily Harcum, communications specialist, U.S. Coast Guard Civil Rights Directorate.
Looking for volunteer opportunities to get involved in your local community – a chance to make a real difference? Seeking to share your love of marine science, engineering, environmental education, or information technology? Or do you just have the makings of an outstanding role model and want to positively influence the next generation? If so, consider Coast Guard Partnership in Education programs! These command-sponsored volunteer activities engage educators and other community members by creating enhanced educational opportunities and promoting career awareness among students, especially in communities with large, underserved populations.
Programs vary from unit to unit and school to school, so the possibilities for participating are endless. Can you spare only 30 minutes a week? Then consider an online tutoring program that reaches students using cutting edge screen-sharing software to improve vocabulary and reading skills. Want to make a bigger commitment? Motivate kids through job shadowing experiences, ensure a lasting impact by serving on a curriculum writing committee, help improve students’ math, science, and reading skills through tutoring programs, spark interest in our service by conducting a tour of a Coast Guard unit or cutter, or encourage and promote the sciences by hosting a fair or designing a contest.
So, how do you get involved? First, check out the Partnership in Education SharePoint site (interal link) or with your command to see if your unit is one of the almost 150 that have already registered a program. Not only is the site a forum for connecting with current PIE coordinators, it also offers opportunities for discussions, examples of best practices from units across the Coast Guard, answers to frequently asked questions, and much more!
Don’t see your unit among those registered as having Partnership in Education programs yet? Take the initiative and start one! The Coast Guard Partnership in Education Toolkit is a step-by-step guide for coordinators who are new to the program as well as those who may just need a few extra “tools” to strengthen their existing partnerships. There are tips for getting started, recruiting and managing volunteers, and even how to measure program effectiveness – everything you’d need to know for creating, maintaining and growing a successful Partnership in Education program.
Thus far in 2013, more than 3,600 CG Partnership in Education participants have volunteered 17,000 hours, touching the lives of almost 60,000 students – join them and start making a difference today!