Early Childhood Volunteerism

Early childhood education advocates are keenly aware of three things. FIRST: The years between 0 and 5 are crucial for nurturing the cognitive, emotional, and social skills that lay the foundation for success in school and in life. SECOND: Forty percent of children born in the State of Oregon have at least one risk factor that impedes kindergarten readiness. THIRD: An engaged community creates the groundswell of support for public and private investment in early childhood development.

Volunteerism can become the means through which agencies gain able assistance while building awareness for the needs of our vulnerable children. With effective use of unpaid staff, agencies can:

  • Improve outcomes with children by lowering child-to-adult ratios in classrooms, delivering enrichment activities (music, structured games, gardening), and providing consistent relationships with caring adults
  • Improve outcomes with parents by expanding their opportunities to engage with the Center, offering technical assistance, and extending a hand in friendship
  • Offer programs that would not be possible without volunteers (e.g., clothes closets, microgrants)
  • Reduce administrative expenses
  • Expand private sources of funding
  • Heighten community involvement through public speaking, word of mouth, and social networking

High impact volunteer management programs require an investment in staff time and energy as well as commitment at all levels in the organization. The benefits far outweigh the investment – for children, for their families, for staff, for volunteers, and for the community.

It’s an auspicious time to make a difference. So let’s get started!

Why It Matters


“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children… studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”
President Barack Obama
February 12, 2013