- Highland Park Elementary
GPS Volunteer Network hosts day of training for dozens of school volunteers
Did you know there are real life superheroes among us? They are school volunteers who sacrifice their time and work hard every day to help make the impossible happen for Gilbert Public Schools students. They work alongside our educators and school staff to create the best memories for our GPS family. They are an essential part of our community.
On Saturday, August 13, the Gilbert Public Schools Volunteer Network put out the call for all superhero volunteers to unite for a fun day of training and a vendor expo. The annual VNET training kicks off the school year for our volunteers, providing them with essential information and a space to connect with local businesses. They learn about bylaws, finances, taxes, district requirements and more.
“We want each parent organization to be the best that they can be to help with their kids’ education. It’s all about the kids,” said Karen Ferrin, president of the GPS Volunteer Network.
Ferrin has been involved with VNET since 2010, serving as president of the organization multiple times. As a former member of band booster groups, she loves sharing her passion and expertise. The main goal of VNET is to ensure parent groups have the proper paperwork in place and remain in good standing.
“We’re there to help everyone stay compliant with 501c3 laws,” she said, “We’ve been training for awhile.”
VNET offers free training through their big event at the beginning of every school year. They offer additional assistance through campus visits, emails and phone calls. They also provide guidance about navigating the relationships between volunteers and school administrators, educators and staff.
“We don’t pick sides. There’s no need to, because we just want what’s best for the kids,” Ferrin said.
This year’s training offered sessions such as “Knowledge is Power.” There were also question and answer opportunities, training handouts and more. Every parent group was asked to have at least one member of their organization attend the event.
“There is so much that people learn,” Ferrin said.
A majority of those working with the GPS Volunteer Network no longer have children attending Gilbert Public Schools, but they remain invested in the community and want to continue supporting the school district. Parent volunteers across the district are encouraged to join VNET by reaching out to the leadership.
“It’s a great group of people and we get along really well. We love to have fun,” Ferrin said.