The CASA Ambassador Program

We all remember the first time we drove through morning carpool. That slightly uncomfortable feeling that you weren't getting it quite right, but weren't sure who to ask about what to do. Or your child's first English Tea Party, was my child's outfit too casual or too fussy. You can probably even recount the first time you got a mass email from the office about a Parents Club meeting and had no clue what it was about or whether you should attend or not. Well, CASA's Parent's Club is thrilled to be rolling out a new program whose aim is to resolve all that confusion and make new parents feel more involved and connected. The Parent Ambassador Program is an individualized way of helping new families become familiar and comfortable with the school and its culture, by partnering them with a current CASA family, their "Ambassador". The Ambassador family will be able to provide guidance, answer questions and serve as a comfortable presence to the new family on a personalized level.

For this program to be a huge success, returning CASA families will be needed to volunteer to "adopt" one, or even two, of CASA's new families. This is a fantastic opportunity for both families involved! There will be a few recommended responsibilities for the current family/parent(s) thru the year, none of which require a daunting amount of effort, but will involve a bit of time. Below is a list of responsibilities that we would like for each Ambassador family/parent to strive to accomplish during the year in whatever way fits their schedule or personal approach. Whether you can make all of these happen or just one or two, the main aim of the Ambassadors job is to make the new family feel informed, involved and welcome however they are able.

  1. The most important role of the Ambassador is to be an information resource for the new family. Sometime soon after receiving their adoptive family's information, the Ambassador should contact the new family to inform them that they are available to answer questions that they may have thru the year.
  2. Another way to help the new family gain that initial sense of comfort would ideally be to set up a face-to-face activity with the new family. This can be as simple as meeting at the park for a play date or a more planned out gathering for a backyard BBQ or pool party. It's entirely up to what fits the Ambassador's time constraints and/or personal preferences. The point is to get together both families and get familiar with each other. Ideally the two families will be matched from within the same classroom, as this will aid in connecting the new family into their child's classroom community.
  3. A further suggestion would be to personally invite the new parent(s) to the school activities and meetings, as well as Parents Club functions, and explain to them what the activity is or is about. While attending all of the year's activities would be impossible for an Ambassador family, we would like for an Ambassador to attempt to attend at least one or two with the new family/parent if possible. The school wide picnic at McFarlane Park would be ideal and could also be that initial face-to-face meeting.

It is the Parent's Club and CASA Staff's hope that this new program will be a fantastic opportunity to create a stronger sense of connection for new families and parents to the school and their child's classroom, as well as strengthen the sense of the CASA community overall. CASA Ambassador families are the key to this program's success and it's our hope that the volunteering interest is overwhelming!

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