What do volunteers do?
Volunteers spend 30 minutes weekly engaged in child- centered play and conversation with each of their 3 assigned children in a supervised group setting. After the 3 play sessions the adults have a discussion lead by the G2 site coordinator.
What is the time commitment?
Two regularly scheduled hours each week that school is in session from early October to mid-May.
What skills do volunteers need?
If you know how to play Candyland and can make “cookies” out of playdough you’ve got what it takes. The most important skills are to enjoy being with children and listen to what they have to say.
Is there any training required?
There is an orientation session each fall and 3 in-service classes throughout the year. Additionally, G2 has an annual urban-suburban conference in November for all volunteers, teachers, school staff and interested community members.
How are the children selected?
The children are not individually selected; all children in a G2 class participate.
What if I can’t come every week?
We understand that life can be unpredictable and situations and opportunities arise when you can’t join us. There are substitute volunteers to fill in. G2 is all about creating a relationship with children who look forward to being with you each week. So, go on that trip (if it’s not all winter in Florida!) and don’t come to school sick. But please schedule routine medical appointments and lunch with your friends for a day you are not expected at G2.
Which schools have G2 programs?
G2 is currently in three Rochester city schools: Nathaniel Rochester Community School (grades kindergarten, 1st & 2nd), School 41 (kindergarten) and School 45 (kindergarten); and Fairport’s Jefferson Avenue school (kindergarten).
What will I get out of this?
You will develop a sense of purpose with a strong connection to and care for the children. They will love you and rush into the room to greet you. Through the time you are together you will understand more about their lives and education. The adults form their own supportive community based on the shared interest in children. Many G2 volunteers also gain active social friendships with the other adults in their G2 group.
How long will my relationship with the children last?
The play sessions last for the school year. Sometimes there is an opportunity to work with the same child for a second year. Additionally, the older children who had G2 in previous years love to see their adult friends at school. They are quick to give a hug and chat about how things are going for them.
Why does G2 play instead of tutor children?
Play is the activity of G2 but not the goal. The relationship that nurtures is the goal of G2. Children learn best through play and play is the primary work of children in all cultures. In the safety of G2, they learn how to be in healthy relationships with people who care about them. By playing a game children learn how to count spaces, read, plan ahead, take turns, and develop empathy and trust. Building with Legos teaches math skills, how to follow directions, spatial relationships, to try again when they fail, balance and cooperation. All of these skills are just as important as straight academics in creating successful lives.
Are there opportunities to volunteer without making a commitment for the entire school year?
Yes. In addition to weekly volunteers G2 needs substitutes for the times a regular volunteer is unable to participate. But be warned, most people who sub with G2 decide to become weekly volunteers.
Sounds great; why isn’t G2 in more schools?
G2 is limited by resources, both financial and volunteers. Our focus has always been on maintaining the highest quality program as possible; quality not quantity. As resources increase, additional classes and schools will be added. You can help by volunteering and/or making a financial contribution.
How do I volunteer?
How can I make a financial contribution?
What are the benefits to the children?
The children gain the support of a positive adult role model who is totally focused on them during the time together. During the school day very few children ever get the undivided attention of an adult for 30 minutes. As adults we all know how important it is to have a friend who focuses on and listens to us. At G2, there are no distractions of cell phones, computers or television, chores to be done, afterschool activities, homework, etc.
The University of Rochester has conducted research on G2 for several years. A full research report is available here. To summarize the results: when compared to peers not in G2, the children in G2 programs like themselves, their teachers and peers more. They like reading and school more. They are more likely to have pro-social behaviors and teachers report fewer disciplinary referrals. Children with the poorest school attendance have much better attendance on the days they meet with their G2 friends.