Image by lorda via FlickrSo, I've been using some of my spare time to do some volunteering at my kids' schools, mostly at the elementary school since they seem to need more help. I somehow ended up being the PTO webmaster. Okay, I told them I'd do it and it's a good use of my skills. What this has entailed so far is setting up the site, responding to suggestions for functionality, etc. and then, posting information that was sent to me. Well, the requests to post started coming in more quickly and I decided to teach everyone else how to post (the site is a WordPress blog, so it's pretty easy). That worked out fine and now most people are happily posting their own announcements. I also go to the PTO meetings and do the usual participating in schoolwide events.
I'm happy to be able to be involved in my kid's school and it's useful in keeping me informed, but my angst comes from feeling like they don't really need me. Let me explain. The school is well-funded. What the PTO provides is mostly extra. They're not buying supplies or paying teacher salaries or making sure low-income students have what they need to succeed. I can't help but think that my efforts would pay off more at a school or organization that has significant needs.
Also, once you get on the "list" of people willing to volunteer, you get asked to do lots of things, partly because the percentage of parents who do volunteer is pretty small. And I often have this gut reaction of a) this seems like such a non-important thing to ask people to volunteer for and b) I can barely find time to keep my own life in order, much less the school's. So, meh.