Volunteer Guide

Opportunities for volunteering at Cedarwood are numerous. Being an active volunteer strengthens our community, fosters joy in our work efforts, and creates opportunities for connection. Whether you feel called to make a larger commitment or contribute just an hour from time to time, there is a way for everyone to engage. We invite all volunteers to contribute to their capacity in ways that are meaningful and fulfilling.

All volunteer opportunities described in this guide are organized into the following categories:

  1. Parent Council, Social Life & Festivals
  2. Community Events
  3. Stewardship Work
  4. Outreach & Advancement Ambassadors

Parent Council, Social Life & Festivals

The Cedarwood Parent Council is a volunteer pillar and one of the three pillars of Cedarwood’s governance, along with the Board of Trustees and the Faculty and Administration. The mission of Parent Council is to nurture, support and develop a vibrant Waldorf community by fostering a positive social life, facilitating parent volunteerism, and offering dynamic parent education.

The Parent Council is led by two co-chairs and has a management team that includes a festivals chair, an appreciation chair, and parent representatives from each class. The Parent Council meets monthly, and all community members are invited to attend the meetings.

Social Life

Throughout the academic year, the Parent Council hosts a number of social events, including seasonal coffee socials and faculty appreciation luncheons, in addition to social time at Parent Council meetings.

Coffee Socials

The parents at Cedarwood host three coffee socials during the academic year. After drop-off, parents are invited gather in the Performance Space and grab a cup of coffee and a bite before moving on with their day. The Parent Council appreciation chair makes sure the coffee is warm and that there is a variety of cream and sugar choices. For each social, a few classes come together to bring the nibbles. Hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit and baked goods are some of the favorites.

Appreciation Luncheons

Each month, Cedarwood volunteers show their appreciation by hosting a faculty luncheon. These events nourish our teachers during their meetings after early release of students on Thursday afternoons. Each class is assigned one luncheon per academic year. Our faculty appreciates all good food. If you’re looking for inspiration, they especially enjoy dishes with protein, such as deviled eggs or hummus, as well as fresh vegetables and gluten-free or whole-grain treats. A build-your-own sandwich bar, a crockpot of soup, or something as simple as nuts and dried fruit are all excellent choices for our faculty.

Parent Council Meetings

The Parent Council meets monthly after drop-off on Tuesday mornings. Coffee and breakfast nibbles are provided. These meetings furnish an excellent opportunity to learn what is happening at Cedarwood and a bit about the school’s policies and operations. There’s also time to chat with Cedarwood friends, old and new. All parents are welcome to attend Parent Council meetings.

Festivals

Volunteers help support our faculty in the execution of our rich festival life at Cedarwood, including Michaelmas, Martinmas, Winter Spiral (Advent), Candlemas and May Day. The Parent Council’s festivals chair invites further support from the greater Cedarwood community for the Saint Lucia Day and May Day festivals as described below.

Saint Lucia Day

Saint Lucia Day is celebrated Dec. 13 and is a festival of light to help one live through the long winter days ahead with enough light. Saint Lucia is represented as a woman in a white dress and red sash with a crown or wreath of candles on her head. At Cedarwood, a girl dressed as Lucia carries buns in procession as songs are sung. A parent volunteer from each class is invited to make the buns for the children on that day.

May Day

May Day is a folk tradition celebrated at Cedarwood. All children sing and dance around the maypole wearing floral crowns. An eighth-grade girl is selected to be "Queen of the May," and the upper grades (6-8) play music during this festival. Families are invited to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the festival with their children. Parents are invited to make the maypole circle and build the floral crowns.

Community Events

Throughout the academic year, Cedarwood schedules a few key community-building events, including:

  • All-School Leaf Rake
  • Winter Faire
  • Class Auction Projects

All-School Leaf Rake

All families are invited to participate in our all-school leaf rake. Bring your child and a rake, and help Portland Parks and Recreation clean up beautiful Lair Hill Park, which our children enjoy daily. Children jumping in leaf piles is welcomed! Coffee and nibbles provided.

Winter Faire

Winter Faire is a fun and festive event for the children at Cedarwood and our greater Portland community. Volunteers come together the Friday evening before the event and transform our classrooms and hallways into a wintry, whimsical forest. During the event, children are invited to:

  • Listen to stories told by King and Queen Winter.
  • Visit the beautiful princess in the Crystal Cookie Cave.
  • Find a lucky stone near the Wishing Stone Wizard.
  • Enjoy the sprinkling of magic dust by our sparkly Faire Fairy.
  • Pick the pockets of a peddler for a treasure.
  • Make beeswax candles.
  • Work with wool, felt and hard crafts.
  • Braid a jump rope.
  • Pick up a screen-printed shirt or bag.
  • Roast stick bread over an open fire.
  • Take a chance of winning a cupcake in our festive cake walk.
  • Grab a nibble at the bakery.
  • Have lunch at the Strong Foods Cafe.
  • Shop at the marketplace featuring local makers and artisans.

Winter Faire is Cedarwood’s most significant volunteer and outreach event of the year. Each class hosts an activity, prepares foods for the event, and helps with decorations, setup and cleanup. Preparations begin in October. The majority of volunteers’ efforts take place the weekend of the faire.

Class Auction Projects

The annual Cedarwood Auction Gala is an event not to be missed. Some say it’s the best party of the year! Cedarwood’s Advancement Committee hosts an evening to celebrate our community, providing an opportunity for attendees to give back to the school. During the dinner portion of the evening, there is a live auction at which each class’s collaboratively created, handmade project goes up for bids. Class teachers, students, parents, grandparents and special friends are all invited to participate in the design and creation of their class project. The timeframe for project development is February to May.

Stewardship Committee

This committee is of crucial importance to daily life at Cedarwood. Volunteers on this committee enhance and care for our building and the community, and manage services such as the library, costume room and lost and found. Specifically, the good work of this committee is to:

  • Keep the kitchen clean and useful.
  • Ensure the library is well-organized and begin to develop a book wish list with the help of an experienced Waldorf librarian.
  • Help with small woodworking or building enhancement projects.
  • Add flowers to the gardens.
  • Keep the costume room and lost and found tidy and well-organized.
  • Prepare a meal for a family in the community welcoming a new baby or healing from an injury or other life event.
  • Welcome new families to the community throughout the academic year.

This committee meets just once at the beginning of each academic year. The majority of the work is done independently, making this a great committee for those who want to be connected but have busier, less flexible schedules.

Outreach & Advancement Ambassadors

Our community relies on volunteers to help advance the school through outreach and development. We have created five ambassador programs in which volunteers can actively contribute to this important work by fulfilling the responsibilities outlined below.

Open House Ambassadors

  • Help set up the open houses and guide guest tours of Cedarwood at these events.
  • Write thank-you cards to families they personally guided and invite them to learn more about Cedarwood.
  • Guide Cedarwood families through the Curriculum Night event hosted by faculty.

Winter Faire Ambassadors

  • Support the behind-the-scene activities of Winter Faire, including the marketplace, and food and beverages for the Strong Foods Cafe and the bakery.
  • Help the faculty to set up the outreach and alumnae rooms.
  • Manage the setup and cleanup of decorations, signage development and printing, and ticket sales and tracking.

Grandparents and Special Friends Day Ambassadors

  • Invite Cedarwood families to bring a grandparent or a special friend of their child to experience a morning at our school.
  • Prepare, set up and clean up coffee and nibbles for our guests.
  • Write thank-you notes to the grandparents and special friends who attended.

Annual Appeal Ambassadors

  • Support coffee-cart operations during the Annual Appeal (mid-November through mid-December).
  • Organize the end-of-appeal pizza party.
  • Write thank-you notes to community members they personally engaged with during the Annual Appeal.

Auction Gala Ambassadors

  • Support the behind-the-scenes activity of preparing food, beverages and entertainment, decorations and signage, and ticket sales and tracking.
  • Organize auction donations, package the items and add them to the auction software.
  • Write thank-you notes to community members who donated items to the auction.

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