4/26/2019 1 Comment
Wallace Lee was the kind of parent – and grandparent – who always volunteered in schools. He was a “book buddy,” a classroom helper, a field trip chaperone, or “whatever the teacher might need help with.”
At 71, Lee is retired from a career as a business analyst. Married almost 50 years, Mr. Lee and his wife Dreina
have two daughters (Teaneck graduates) and four grandsons.
Twice-a-week, he can be found in a classroom at Bryant School, stacking blocks, doing pretend loads of laundry in the toy washing machine, or quizzing preschoolers on their numbers and shapes.
Teaneck Public Schools welcome volunteers from the community, and Lee is one of many older adults who are filling roles most people retire from when their kids age out of elementary, middle or high school.
For Lee, volunteering with young kids both brings him pleasure and fulfills his sense of personal responsibility to the community of Teaneck, where he’s lived for more than 40 years.
“I think older adults bring a lot of experience to the table, and whatever experience you have, and whatever gifts you have, you should share it with the community,” Lee said.
He always looks for a way to impart a lesson to the young kids – whether it’s encouraging them to talk to a classmate who’s shy or telling them about the childhood pastimes of his generation.
“I try to put myself back to the way I was as a kid and play like they play,” Lee said.
Volunteering with young children may not be for everyone – Lee sees it as something you have to have a gift for.
But he believes older adults should figure out what talent or special skill they have to share with their community, and then commit to it.
“I think it helps me mentally to feel like I’m contributing something,” Lee said. “I think that’s an important thing to keep doing as you get older.”
If you are interested in volunteering in Teaneck Public Schools, contact Terry Corallo, supervisor of community relations and volunteer services, at 201-833-5498 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Who We Are
Age-Friendly Teaneck formed in 2016 with this mission in mind: A great place to grow up should be a great place to grow old.