As of Sunday, August 19, 2018
DALLAS — When Kim Bucher and Ruth Wagner found out about the behavior struggles in kindergarten classes in Dallas were having, they decided those classrooms need heroes.
Bucher said she and a few friends were at the Dallas Aquatic Center watching their kids play in the pools and they started talking about how difficult it would be to meet the needs of all students in a classroom of 28 or 30 kids. She noted that’s especially true when some of those children have trauma in their lives.
In that hour, Bucher and her friends came up with the concept of “Classroom Heroes,” a program to enlist volunteers to spend time with children at breakfast, lunch, recess and during class.
“We need you, Dallas Community, all ages, men, women, people with all time availabilities, you can be a Classroom Hero,” Bucher said.
About 20 volunteers have already signed up, but about 28 more, at the least, are needed.
“I feel really passionately that all of us need to step up. These are our kids in this community,” Bucher said. “They need us, and the teachers need us. They can’t possibly tend to each kid and give them what they need.”
The initiative will begin with the kindergarten classes at Oakdale Height and Lyle elementary schools with the hopes of growing to all elementary classrooms.
“We’re going to start focusing on kindergarten. That is where the need is right now during the transition time,” Bucher said “That is not overlooking that there are first, second and third graders who are really struggling, that come from difficult families or situations. They are coming to school and they are needing the extra attention.”
She said volunteers will start working during lunch and recess at the start of school, Sept. 5, and in the classroom on Oct. 15.
“It going to start out the month of September being lunch and recess heroes because we want to give the teachers a good month to get used to their kids, find out what their needs are, and build the routines before introducing all these adults into the classroom,” Bucher said.
She said the goal isn’t for Classroom Heroes to work with kids on behavior problems, but simply interact with them.
“Look them in the eyes and show them that they are valuable, and they are loved,” she said. “I feel like there are so many people in this town that can do that, but they may not know that there’s a need.”
Bucher is the coordinator for Lyle and Wagner, a retired teacher, will do the same for Oakdale Heights. She said they will work with placements if volunteers if they have a school preference or want to work with a certain teacher.
“Ultimately I just hope that kids are excited to come to school and that they know that it’s a safe place and that they will be able to learn better,” Bucher said. “That families will feel comforted that there are caring adults around supporting their kids.”
The program has a partnership with Dallas nonprofit Bambinos to conduct any fundraising needed for Classroom Heroes.
For more information or to volunteer contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Of note: volunteers must pass a background check to work in the school. Volunteers will not be asked to assist with behavior issues or discipline of students.