Project Cornerstone volunteers are guests at the schools where they volunteer. All volunteers must complete all school site requirements in addition to completing the following steps.
To start the volunteer sign-up process, please first enquire at your school as to who the Project Cornerstone school lead is and they can assist you with this process. If your school does not have Project Cornerstone please click here to learn how to bring our programs to your school community.
Project Cornerstone engages with local preschools, elementary schools, and middle schools with parent engagement programs. These programs increase the number of caring adults in schools, parent engagement, and help build caring and welcoming schools. To read more thorough descriptions of these programs visit the School Based Programs page.
Each program includes mandatory training and all volunteers must meet the volunteer policies of their school and school district and YMCA Project Cornerstone. These brief descriptions explain level of commitment for each program.
The Preschool/Transitional Kindergarten is a 3 hour monthly commitment to attend a training, prepare, and deliver the lesson in a classroom. The program has been developed to provide introduction and early instruction to Developmental Asset Framework for parents, caregivers, teachers and students. This program features reading early childhood literature monthly to provide students with a set of skills and attitudes that promote a strong desire to learn. Lesson plans and books are in English and Spanish. Training for program volunteers is also available in both languages.
ABC is a 3 hour monthly commitment to attend a training, prepare, and deliver the lesson in a classroom. This parent engagement program has a kindergarten and elementary school strand. Volunteers are trained in the developmental assets model for positive youth development, and prepared to read a specially selected children’s book and lead related activities and discussions in classrooms each month.
Los Dichos is a 3 hour monthly commitment to attend a training, prepare, and deliver the lesson in a classroom. The program has a kindergarten and elementary strand. This program helps Spanish-speaking parents become involved in their children’s education and instill a sense of positive cultural identity. Los Dichos volunteers are trained in Spanish and read specially selected bilingual books monthly in the classroom and lead activities and discussions about topics including tolerance, family pride, peaceful conflict resolution and other important values.
Middle School Programs includes a variety of program to engage parents at the middle school level. The Middle School Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum delivers SEL lessons to middle school students and is a 3 hour monthly commitment to attend a training, prepare, and then deliver the lesson in the classroom. There are additional clubs and programs with different levels of commitment.
All volunteers must read these documents and will be asked when completing the Volunteer Application that they have read and understand them.
Policies for School-Based Volunteers
Listed below are Project Cornerstone’s policies for adults who volunteer in schools. In addition to these important policies, please become informed about and adhere to requirements specific to your school site.
Why Volunteer? We believe that, “All kids are our kids.”
- Volunteers intentionally invite relationships with staff, students, and families that support the mission and vision of the school. These relationships help youth thrive.
- Volunteers intentionally seek to empower youth by giving them voice and choice in clubs and activities.
- Volunteers partner with school staff to create safe and caring spaces for youth to be and belong; to learn about themselves and others; to connect; to explore and discover their interests.
- Everything that you see and do concerning children at school is private and confidential:
- Grades; Behavior; Test scores, etc. Even good news is confidential.
- Other items that are the exclusive domain of the school’s professional staff, including family situations, are confidential.
- Children’s rights are protected by the California Family Right to Privacy Act.
- Be a trustworthy ally for students, staff, and families.
Child Abuse Prevention Policy
- YMCA and Project Cornerstone are advocates for children and their rights. Prevention of child abuse is a special concern.
- California law requires employees of a public or private youth-serving organization to report known or reasonably suspected child abuse.
- If you know or reasonably suspect that a child has been abused, you must:
- Report what you have observed to the classroom teacher and principal. Ask them to file a report with Child Protective Services.
Support School Faculty and Administration
- Project Cornerstone is a partner with your school and district.
- Seek to understand and promote school policies and procedures.
- As a representative of Project Cornerstone and your school, build a trusting relationship with members of your school community.
- If a student contacts you about a concern, report this to the appropriate school staff. (Do not share with parents. See Confidentiality Policy.)
- As guests at the school, be intentional about your position as a positive role model of responsible behavior.
- Follow school rules while on school property.
Referring Student Problems
Students may discuss problems or concerns
If there is no immediate danger, you, as a caring adult, may:
- Respond to the student by listening to their worry.
- Use your body language to show empathy.
- Listen to understand.
- Provide reassurance.
- Be honest; don’t promise to keep the problem a secret.
- Trust your gut. Report your concerns to a designated school contact. Allow staff to decide if immediate intervention is needed. Document for yourself that you made a report to school staff. Your responsibility is to make an initial report of a concern.
- Respect the school clothing policy.
- Wear casual, modest clothes.
- Avoid low-cut blouses, short skirts, or clothes with questionable slogans or advertisements.
- Project Cornerstone supports schools in weapon-free and drug-free policies.
- Volunteers may not smoke on campus.
- Do not volunteer under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Role model safe and responsible behavior.
- Participate in safety drills while on campus.
- Follow direction of school staff.
Use of School Property
- Follow your school’s rules for use of all school facilities and equipment.
- Be aware of school policy for technology use.
- Ask a school contact for special materials needed.
YMCA Project Cornerstone Volunteer Code of Conduct
All YMCA Project Cornerstone volunteers must agree to adhere to the YMCA Volunteer Code of Conduct.
- In order to protect YMCA Project Cornerstone of Silicon Valley staff, volunteers, and program participants, program volunteers must position themselves so that they can be observed at all times.
- Program volunteers should always be supervised by school staff.
- Program volunteers shall relate to children in a positive manner. In addition, program volunteers are required to read and sign all policies related to identifying, documenting, and reporting child abuse as instructed during orientation. Any concerns about child abuse should be reported immediately to the school principal.
- Program volunteers respond to children with respect and consideration and treat all children equally regardless of sex, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Program volunteers will respect children’s right to not be touched in ways that make them feel uncomfortable, and their right to say no.
- Program volunteers will appear neat, clean, and appropriately attired within the parameters of the school dress code.
- Using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs on school campus is prohibited.
- Using or possessing firearms or other weapons on school campus is prohibited.
- Smoking is prohibited on school campus.
- Program volunteers will refrain from using profanity, telling inappropriate jokes, sharing intimate details of one’s personal life, or any kind of harassment in the presence of children, parents, or staff.
- Program volunteers will portray a positive role model for youth by maintaining an attitude of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and patience.
- YMCA Project Cornerstone requires that program volunteers will abide by the standards of conduct set forth by YMCA Project Cornerstone.
All volunteers must complete an online Volunteer Application where you will state that you have read and understand the Code of Conduct and Volunteer Policies.
Click here to access the Volunteer Application.
All volunteers must take the Assets 101 training which is an introduction to the developmental assets framework and volunteering with Project Cornerstone.
Click here to sign up for an upcoming Assets 101 training.
Project Cornerstone materials are password protected. School Partners in good standing with Project Cornerstone will receive the password and be able to access these materials. The lead volunteer at each site will share the password with volunteers at their site that have met all school and Project Cornerstone requirements.
If you do not know who the lead volunteer is at your site, please contact your school office for assistance.
No, just once as a preschool/elementary volunteer. If you choose to volunteer in middle school you will take Middle School Assets 101.
Yes, the TIP workshop covers the developmental assets, but does not cover what it means to be a volunteer and the policies and procedures that volunteers must follow.
Each school/school district has different requirements for their volunteers. These may include fingerprinting, TB test, orientations, or other items. The school lead at each site will help volunteers to understand what volunteer requirements must be completed before they can volunteer in a classroom.