April 21-27 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and the Office of Children and Families would like to thank all volunteers who devote their time and energy to serving our communities. 

To celebrate, we are highlighting a couple of volunteers who positively impact the lives of our youth and families across Philadelphia communities. Learn what motivates our volunteers to participate in community service and impact the lives of others!

Shirley Parson 

Shirley Parson has been volunteering in her community for as long as she can remember. One day, she was in line at the Community School Gompers Food Giveaway and saw the need for help, so she asked the Community School Coordinator, Rennier Parker, if she could be of service. 

“He said yes, so really, the rest is history, and I’ve been there ever since,” Parson said. 

For about six months now, Parson has been at the school every Wednesday, helping to give away free food items to community members. 

“Rain or shine, snow, sleet, whatever, we’re there,” Parson said.

Her inspiration comes from knowing she is making a difference in someone’s life. 

“Also showing them that I am here for them and that I care,” said Parson. “Volunteering has really taught me to see the bright side because there are many difficult situations surrounding us.” 

Lisa Teixeira

Lisa Teixeira moved to Philadelphia in 2023 and has volunteered with the Philly Reading Coaches program since January. Upon her move, Teixeira looked for volunteer opportunities where she could make a difference in her community and work with youth in some capacity. 

While scrolling on social media, she came across Philly Reading Coaches, learned about Community Schools, and knew this opportunity would be a perfect fit! Teixeira was placed at Southwark School, which is within walking distance of her residence. 

“It’s a local school, and I get to help children love reading, become literate, and make connections,” said Teixeira. “This is such a win-win opportunity. It’s like the job description was written for me, and I was excited to become involved.”

Teixeira encourages individuals thinking about volunteering to sign up to be a Philly Reading Coach!  

“Do it,” Teixeira said. “It’s very personally satisfying. You’re making a difference in the lives of children. What could be more important? And it’s fun as well.” 

Many thanks to Parson and Teixeira for your time, dedication, and commitment to service, as well as to our other committed volunteers!

Community Schools are a partnership among the Office of Children and Families, the School District of Philadelphia, and the surrounding school communities. From supporting grocery giveaways to after-school programming, our volunteers are an integral part of our mission and help support the success of every student.

Are you also seeking volunteer opportunities with the Office of Children and Families? There are plenty of options to choose from, including:

  • Becoming a Philly Reading Coach
  • Serving as a Next Level Learning Tutor
  • Volunteering at a Community School food pantry