CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
With the return of the school year, many things around Cannon Air Force Base and Clovis, New Mexico, will be occurring for parents and their children. While this time of year may not seem to have significance to those families without children, the school year actually opens up many opportunities for self-improvement and community involvement for Cannon’s Air Commandos, regardless of family size.
The local school systems welcome assistance from creating bulletin boards and copies to aiding with the school-level physical education and sports teams.
“The more involvement and support, the better off the school is,” said Sarah Williams, Cannon AFB School Liaison Officer. “The teachers can focus more on the students when they have the parents coming in and helping make copies and bulletin boards and things the teachers don’t have to spend all of their planning time doing. Community members who don’t have kids can help do those things as well.”
The local school district is not just looking for people to volunteer directly for the teachers or classroom, but events they put on as well.
“The schools are looking for people to help out at major sports games,” said Elaine Gard, Cannon AFB exceptional family member program family support specialist. “If they have skills involving being active in those types of community events and showing spirit for the community that they’re a part of then it’s a great opportunity to work within the schools and support those events and activities.”
There is more to helping out than just showing up to the school one day to volunteer. The local schools do have prerequisites that must be met in order to volunteer.
“If parents want to volunteer at their children’s school they need to contact the school office because there is a process in place they need to follow in order to meet the requirements for volunteering in their child’s school,” Gard said. “You can’t just go to your child’s school and be able to volunteer casually; they have a lot of protections in place now to keep the children safe and keep the buildings secure.”
These processes also apply to those Air Commandos without children who are interested in volunteering with the local schools.
“Military members are very welcome in the schools because they bring a whole different level of experience and an opportunity to share with the teachers and children,” Gard said. “They really help them understand and identify with the military culture, and for the children that are military associated to feel connected to the culture that is so important in their family.”
While the volunteering opportunities and chances to make a difference in the community are great, it is important to remember there will also be changes that may negatively impact daily routines.
“Going back and forth to work, you’re going to hit bus zones where the speed limit is 15 mph, and that can make a big difference with how soon you have to leave home to get to work,” Williams said. “That might have changed a lot of people’s schedules, and people who live in town may not be aware of that.”