CIS Volunteer Opportunities

At Communities In Schools of Central Texas, volunteers serve in a variety of capacities. Opportunities range from one-time events to weekly commitments and can include working directly with students or supporting CIS behind the scenes. Campus-based volunteers are matched to meet weekly with a student during the school year, beginning in the fall and continuing until the end of the school year. To become a CIS volunteer, please first complete the online volunteer application.

Requirements

All campus-based CIS volunteers are required to:

  • Complete an online volunteer application
  • Complete an orientation module
  • Schedule and pass a 30-minute volunteer screening
  • Complete an hour training
  • Undergo and pass a criminal background check

Qualifications

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Comfortable working with youth from diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to commit volunteering weekly during the school day

Reading Buddies

Students who are behind in reading levels by third grade are more likely to drop out of school before graduating. Reading Buddies provide extra support and encouragement to students, helping them gain literacy skills, build confidence, and develop a lifelong love of reading. The opportunity to read books with a safe and caring adult provides students with a foundation for empowerment and a positive attitude toward learning. Reading Buddy volunteers also serve as mentors for students, building trusting and consistent relationships over the course of the semester.

  • Time commitment – Minimum of an hour per week for a full academic semester
  • Restrictions – This volunteer position is restricted to elementary age students

Tutors

As a Communities In Schools tutor, you will work with a student once a week during the school day. Tutors help struggling students achieve academic success through support and encouragement. CIS tutors work in conjunction with the student’s teacher to provide academic support based on current classroom assignments, topics, and needs. CIS tutors also help students build study techniques that will permit them to study effectively and become independent, self-directed learners.

  • Time commitment – Minimum of an hour per week for a full academic semester

Mentors

Communities In Schools mentors serve as consistent and caring role models for elementary, middle, or high school students. Mentoring is focused on relationship building; therefore, the student’s preferences and interests will guide what each session entails. Mentoring sessions may include activities such as playing online games, making arts and crafts, offering career advice, assisting with college applications, and resume building.

Mentor placements start in August and continue until October. Mentor applications submitted anytime between October and February will either be added to our mentor waitlist or placed as either a reading buddy or tutor. Upon completion of the volunteer term, volunteers will have the opportunity to request a position transfer for the following school year. Additionally, mentor applications submitted anytime between February and June will NOT be placed until the next school year. Applicants will be contacted over the summer to complete a volunteer training and submit a criminal background check request.

  • Time commitment – Minimum of an hour per week for a full academic year

 

Virtual Notes (Pen-Pals)

The pen-pal program is meant to provide CIS students with a mentor through the exchange of written letters. The letter writing will help students practice reading and writing skills while participating in an engaging and fun activity. The pen-pal mentor is expected to write a letter bi-weekly with the expectation that the pen-pal student will reply in the intermittent weeks.

Every time I walk into the Blackshear cafeteria and my student(s) run up to give me a hug, my whole heart is happy and full. Working with them every day is inspiring.

Annika Olson

CIS Pen Pal Volunteer

My student was struggling academically. After finding ways to help him better understand the material, he began investing more time into his studies outside of the classroom. As a result, his grades improved dramatically.

 

Kaleb Combs

CIS Mentor

My student had low confidence in being able to do a presentation in front of her class. After talking about it and exploring the pros and cons she decided to give her presentation which in returned has increased her self-esteem.

Roxana Gonzalez

CIS Mentor

Communities In Schools also has one-time volunteer opportunities assisting with special events.

One-Time Volunteer Events

Zilker Park Day (normally in June)

Food for Thought (January 2021)

Career Days (normally in the Spring)

School Supply Drives

My freshman year of volunteering, I had the same buddy for two semesters. In the fall, my buddy was a good reader and I felt that he could read chapter books and longer books, but he wasn’t very confident and chose easier books. When we came back from winter break, he told me that he had been reading a lot over break and immediately picked up a chapter book of ghost stories which we read for that semester. It was amazing to see how much progress he made and showed me how the SEAL program can really make an impact!

Catherine Chen

CIS Reading Buddy

I’m a Reading Buddy at Wooten Elementary, and I’m also a librarian. One of the most rewarding things is when kids I’ve worked with at school are excited to come and visit the public library to hang out, browse, and borrow books. It’s also an opportunity to meet their families which I also love.

 

Celia Holm

CIS Reading Buddy

Volunteer Department Contact Information
Phone: 512-464-9767
Email:  volunteer@ciscentraltexas.org