School Volunteers

Metro / Region

The Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Wednesday, April 9, 1997

Teacher seeking volunteers from churches,  synagogues .

By Monica Mendoza

The Arizona Daily Star

Tucson and Marana teachers' unions are turning to churches and synagogues as  recruiting grounds for school volunteers.

They are uniting with the Pima County Interfaith Council to recruit members  to volunteer in the classroom. The council is an advocacy group that claims  membership of 50 to 60 churches, synagogues, schools and support  organizations.

The move is something new for the teachers unions, which traditionally focus  on payraises and working conditions, said Mark Cavendish, vice-president  of the Amphitheater Education Association.

Religious institutions deal with the whole person and the family, he said.  "They share with public schools that deep commitment to the well-being of  children and families."

The partnership was announced yesterday as part of the Arizona Education  Association's community outreach program.

Admittedly, it is risky to mention schools and churches in the same breath,  said Andy Morales, president of Amphitheater Education Association. But teachers  said volunteer church members are not going to preach or recruit in the  schools.

Targeting church. members to volunteer and be mentors for kids will create a  base of long- term volunteers, said Jim Slingluff, Arizona Education Association  Uniserve director.

"As long as they don't preach specific articles of faith we are willing to  work with them," he said.

The interfaith council will train volunteers, said Barbara Lindsey,. teacher  at Roskruge Bilingual Magnet School.

Volunteers will be asked to tutor kids, provide expertise in career training  and work on programs that keep teens from dropping out of school.