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P&Cs support schools to thrive

20 May 2020

This week is Volunteer Week, so we spoke to Harrison School P&C President, Jackie Floro, to find out a little more about P&Cs, who they are, what they do and the positive impact of volunteering for you and your community.

Volunteer Week
Jackie Floro and Jason Holmes, Executive Principal Harrison School

Can you tell us a little about the P&C?

The P&C are a valuable link between parents and the school. At Harrison School we also operate the junior and senior canteens, uniform shop, weekly community morning tea as well as holding monthly meetings and run fundraising events for the benefit of the school and the students. The Harrison School P&C also runs Facebook pages for each year group, where parents can ask questions and share information about their kid’s class, or events that are going on. Say you forgot about an excursion, you can jump on and ask, “what time do they have to be at school?” or “what do they have to pack?” and another parent will jump on and answer. It means parents can ask these questions outside of school hours and there will always be someone to respond. It’s really useful, it saves a lot of time and stress!

What inspired you to take this volunteer position?

Another parent was already involved in the P&C and suggested that I should come along to a meeting one day, so I did! At the time they needed to fill a few positions, including secretary. At first, I was a little unsure about what the position would involve, but I took it on, and over time became more involved with the P&C and decided to volunteer as President. I really enjoy doing it, I get along well with the whole committee I love the social aspect of being a member and I’ve made some lifelong friends along the way. It’s also given me great insight into what goes on in the school. I’ve been able to connect with the teachers and executive staff here and I have a really positive connection with the school.

Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?

It’s extremely important to give back to your community. This will look different for everyone as we are all time poor and some people don’t have the scope to give as much time as others and that’s okay. Imagine if every person volunteered just one hour of their time each year, what a tremendous difference this would make to our community. The kids love seeing me around the school and also enjoy getting involved in events like discos themselves.

For me personally I feel it’s really important that my children witness me giving my time and understand that I do it with no expectation of getting something in return other than helping others. It’s about showing them those life lessons, that you don’t do everything for instant gratification.

Volunteer Week
Olivia Wenholz, Jackie Floro, Harrison School Twilight Fair 1 April 2017

Tell us about what you have achieved with the P&C?

One of the first events I was involved in was organising the Twilight Fair with another parent. It was awesome and even gets referred to as a mini Canberra show. All the kids had a ball, it was an amazing community bonding experience and we were able to raise 22 thousand dollars for the school!

We do a lot of fundraising for the school. We facilitate the Mother’s and Father’s Day stalls that enable students to purchase gifts for their parents and run fun events like school discos.

All funds raised go directly back into the school. An example of this was when we had a student fundraising to get the school some C-Pens, a device to assist students with dyslexia, so the P&C matched the amount he raised, which meant he was able to get 10 C-Pens for the school. We’ve donated funds for home readers, facilitated major changes to the school carpark, including new signage and our latest donation was for new bike racks at the school.

We’ve also moved to an online system of financing for our uniform shop and canteen. When I first started here, the canteen ran on a cash basis and staff used a piece of paper to keep track of the ins and outs. Now we’re completely online; we have a bookkeeper, an online ordering system and even have EFTPOS terminals were the kids can use their EFTPOS cards at the senior Canteen and parents enjoy the ease of these facilities too.

What would you say to parents who are considering joining their P&C?

Don't be afraid to start! You don’t need to join, enrol or sign up, if you have children at the school you’re already registered as a member. Come along to a meeting or check out our Facebook pages. You don’t have to volunteer in person, we have tasks you could do remotely from home. Or if you have a day off, just pop into your kid’s classroom to help out with some reading, volunteering at your school doesn’t have to be solely for the P&C and your kids will love having you involved!