Letter: Volunteers add value in SAD 51

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As National Volunteer Month draws to a close it is important to recognize the valuable contributions made by volunteers who support the public schools in Cumberland and North Yarmouth. The resources and energy that volunteers provide to SAD 51 schools have helped to ensure that although the school district has had to tighten the budget year after year, it is still able to provide a superior quality education to all students.

The PTO works hard to fund field trips because there is no room for this activity in the school budget. Many parents and even some grandparents, provide important classroom support for teachers; in grades K-8 our volunteers perform an average of 4,000 hours of service a year. This year the Arts Alliance volunteers presented well-crafted art and literacy lessons to nearly 50 classrooms as part of a celebration of the arts, and hosted a free and well-attended family arts night. The Cumberland Lions raise funds to recognize students and provide scholarships. Through the efforts of its volunteers, Foundation 51, a nonprofit that organizes fundraising endeavors to provide direct private charitable donations toward educational opportunities for SAD 51, has contributed more than $350,000 to our schools in grants since 1998. Budget reductions for athletics has led to parental support of middle school and high school athletics with participation fees and booster fundraising efforts.

The generous volunteers who support the educational journey of SAD 51 students enrich our schools, and provide a great service to our two communities.

Bethany Hanley