Submitted by Valley View School District:
Valley View School District 365U is seeking community members interested in volunteering their time to support the re-launch of the highly successful FANS (Friends and Neighbors Supporting Students) program at the high school and middle school levels.
“This is a great opportunity to show our kids we are all interested in their well-being,” said VVSD Superintendent Dr. James Mitchem who launched the original FANS program in 2009 when he was Principal of Bolingbrook High School. “Kids today face a multitude of challenges and we need many people with many different types of skill sets to help support them every day.”
Through FANS, parent and community volunteers have an opportunity to interact with students and staff during the school day. Assignments vary depending on the volunteer as well as the school. Interaction could take place in hallways or the cafeteria during high traffic passing periods, in engaged learning situations (including mentoring) or in classrooms assisting teachers.
It doesn't have to be eight hours a day. In fact it could only be an hour or two a month,” said Power Connection Director Jerry Basel, a former BHS FANS member. “All of us are busy. But when you give back to these kids, you’re giving back to our community.”
“It takes a village to raise our kids,” added VVSD School Board member Chrystal Hansen, a former FANS member who is spearheading the current regrouping. “For a variety of reasons we pulled back on the program in the past few years but the embers have stayed lit all along and we are attempting to get parents rallied around the cause again.”
Volunteers are able to select their assignment from a list of FANS duties, choose the schools in which they work, and determine what times they work. Per state law, they are required to undergo a tuberculosis test as well as finger printing and a background check. VVSD also requires FANS volunteers to undergo a one hour training session. The first two training sessions are scheduled for May 23 and June 20. Both begin at 6 p.m. and will be held at the VVSD Administration Center.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of. You just need to trust your instincts and trust us to give you the proper training,” said Michele Bochnak, VVSD’s Community Outreach Coordinator.
"You just need a caring heart,” added Ken Hansen, Lead Pastor at Bolingbrook’s Living Water Community Church and a former FANS member. “Many of these kids just want someone to pay attention to them. Someone who can acknowledge their very being can literally change their lives.”
Parents or community members interested in becoming a member of FANS should contact any school liaison:
- Bolingbrook HS: Yolanda Jordan 630-759-6400 JordanYM@vvsd.org
- Romeoville HS: Bill Normand 815-886-1800 NormandB@vvsd.org
- Addams MS: Mark Crawley 630-759-7200 CrawleyME@vvsd.org
- Brooks MS: Gina Gargaro 630-759-6340 GargaroGM@vvsd.org
- Humphrey MS: Dan Laverty 630-972-9240 LavertyDJ@vvsd.org
- Martinez MS: Matt Mamak 815-886-6100 MamakMJ@vvsd.org
- Lukancic Middle School will launch a FANS program at a later date.
“Our vision is to support our students in a way that will ensure they stay on the path to success. The greater the community involvement, the more successful our kids will be,” said Dr. Mitchem. “It’s time we all become part of the solution.”