This article originally appeared in the September issue of Buck's Tales.
Changing the world into a more peaceful place, “one happy picture at a time,” is what Marlene Flor does every time she sets foot into a second grade
classroom at Rolling Hills Elementary School in the Council Rock School District. She does this as a public school classroom volunteer through S.A.G.E. (Senior Adults for Greater Education).
Marlene, a retired assistant librarian in the Council Rock School District, has
worked as a volunteer for 10 years through the S.A.G.E. program, and her membership in the American Sewing Guild served her well when she assisted in an art class. In that class she had the students use markers to create “happy pictures” on fabric squares. The pictures were then incorporated into a quilt by the Newtown Quilt Guild.
More recently she has been serving as an aide in a regular education second grade classroom at Rolling Hills assisting students who need a little extra help with their work. As Marlene puts it, “Retirement really isn’t retirement. Working as a volunteer in the classroom keeps you young.”
She thinks much of her job as a volunteer is helping to “build egos - telling the kids that they can do it. All in all it’s a win win situation. I enjoy it (the
volunteer work) because I’m helping kids feel better about themselves.”
Marlene commits two and half to three hours a week helping students in the classroom and spends extra time shelving books in the library. In the past she has volunteered at Feinstone Elementary School in the Council Rock School District. Her work there included helping teach the culture of Scotland and the United Kingdom. She also spent 3 years at Newtown Middle School assisting the sewing teacher. One of the perks of this volunteer work is that she “really gets to know the kids and how they enjoy learning.” And she knows that the school appreciates the volunteers. Each year they honor them with a breakfast and little gift. But it's the smiles and hugs that really make it so worthwhile.
S.A.G.E. helps match volunteers with school districts mainly in Bucks and Montgomery. Founded by Beryl Katz in 2017*, it was recognized as a program of distinction by Generation United. Currently in the Council Rock School District alone it helps match at least 75 volunteers with assignments in the district. If interested in volunteering through S.A.G.E., contact the school district’s administrators to find out if the district participates. S.A.G.E. provides training workshops, but most of the training is done by the
Marlene resides with her husband Fred, a retired Navy captain, in Churchville, Bucks County. They have three children, Emilie, Fred, and Christopher; Marlene and Fred adopted Emilie who was born in
Romania. Marlene’s husband Fred also volunteers his time each year when he visits Social Studies classes in the school district on Veterans Day to answer questions about the Cold War, Vietnam, Ohio State NROTC
program, and military service.
* CORRECTION: S.A.G.E. was founded in 1998