The Sarasota County School District volunteer and partnership program was established in 1979 through a special collaboration among the volunteer sector (Junior League of Sarasota), the private sector (The United First Federal Savings & Loan and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation), and the public sector (Sarasota County School District) to create a coordinated, district-wide program to provide support through recruitment, orientation, management, training, and recognition of school-based volunteers and partners. This program continues to facilitate coordination and support to all schools while remaining responsive to local staff, students, and community needs and interests.
The Sarasota County School District volunteer and partnership program was originally called Partnerships and Alliances Linking Schools (PALS) and the PALS Community Advisory Board was created at that time as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to provide the manpower and funding to support this coordinated, district-wide program. The PALS Community Advisory Board was renamed several years ago as the TeamUP Volunteer & Partnership Council.
Today school volunteers and partners are fellow community members including parents, students, business owners and employees, community organizations, professional people, and retired citizens. They share their special knowledge, concern, skills, hobbies, and talents to provide support for instructional programs in the schools.
With school budgets able to cover only the most pressing needs, volunteers and partners represent a limitless resource of expertise, attention, and caring to help today’s youth improve academic skills, take risks necessary for learning, cope with personal problems, and expand their view of the world. The pairing of a student with an adult builds an early foundation, helping students connect with the community in a meaningful way. Given the ever-increasing demands on schools, community involvement through this formal volunteer and partnership continues to play a significant role in providing our students with a quality education that prepares them to become proud, productive, contributing community members.