Skip to content

FOOTHILLS MAGAZINE: Parents power extracurriculars

“It’s an investment in my children’s lives and their futures.”
FM-Jackie Heuver BWC 7882A
Jackie Heuver is a substitute teacher and volunteers for various events and initiatives in the community.

AN ENRICHING STUDENT experience extends past the four walls of a classroom.

It takes opportunities, activities and space to try new things and explore new places. And that takes planning, organizing, fundraising and supervision.

Luckily, parent volunteers help bear that load so teachers and administration can concentrate on molding minds.

There’s a variety of factors that drive parents to pick up that torch. For some, volunteering is a way to give back to their community, while for others, it’s hereditary.

For these two Foothills parent volunteers, it started as a way to stay involved in their children’s lives as they moved through grade school, but it quickly evolved into something greater.

It’s contagious

Jackie Heuver started donating her time when her boys started in school.

“I wanted to be present in the things they were doing,” said Heuver, an Okotoks mother of four who now range between 13 and 18 years old.

“With my teaching background, I enjoy being in a school and this was my way to do that while still being with my kids.”

But her volunteer roots run deeper than that.

“When I was growing up, I grew up in a small country school. My mom and dad were farmers and they helped all the time with programs at the school.

“Once I had kids in school, they always had a need for volunteers,” she said, adding that as a stay-at-home mom of Jacob, Joshua, Nathan and Noah, she had the availability.

FM-Jackie Heuver BWC 8572_1
Jackie Heuver volunteers at an Okotoks Junior High theatre production. Heuver is a substitute teacher and volunteers for various events and initiatives in the community. Brent Calver

Instead of picking up one task, though, she essentially filled her schedule.

Currently, she chairs the Foothills Composite High School and École Okotoks Junior High School councils. She’s also casino chairperson for Foothills Falcons Athletic Association, a member of the COVID-19 renewal committee and she organizes fundraisers and the hot lunch program at the junior high — just to name a few.

She’s also been involved with Scouts, soccer and for the past six years, she’s been a guest teacher with the Foothills School Division.

“It’s an investment in my children’s lives and their futures,” Heuver said.

She said the monkey-see, monkey- do aspect is an added bonus.

“We’re raising them to be responsible community members as well. When I volunteer, they get dragged into it too. Sometimes they don’t like the things we have to help with,” Heuver said with a laugh. “But it builds good character.”

Travel is another sphere that builds good character and even abroad, Heuver finds the space to donate her time.

The family lived in the south of France where the boys attended public school in 2011-12. Meanwhile, mom volunteered in the library and chaperoned field trips. Three years later, the family travelled the world, visiting 26 countries in one school year.

In response to the idea volunteerism may be contagious, she said, “I do think it is.”

“Our parents can be great role models for us.”

FM-Yearbook Mom BWC 5101
Adrienne Lockton poses in Joe Clark School in High River on March 24. Lockton volunteers by creating the photography for and laying out the school's yearbooks. Brent Calver

It’s reciprocal

When Adrienne Lockton’s daughter Callie started pre-K at École Joe Clark School in High River, mom knew she wanted to be involved somehow.

Yearbook may not have been her first guess, though.

“The lady doing the yearbook had a letter asking volunteers to help and I thought that would be a fun way to be in the school and get involved as a volunteer,” she said.

Lockton helped for the first two years taking the reins after her mentor’s son aged out of the school.

“Then, when my daughter was in junior kindergarten, I was on parent council too, to see what it was all about and then I never left,” she said.

For the past three years, Lockton has served as council chair at Joe Clark.

Her daughter has since moved on and this is her son’s final year at the elementary school so Lockton said this will be her last year volunteering there as a parent.

“It’s going to be a rough last day, for sure,” she said. “It’ll be a sad day. But good... It’ll be bittersweet.”

It’s not just the time she’s spent with her own kids at the school, she said. It’s the relationships you form with all the students and their families as well.

Lockton said when she bumps into students whose pictures she’s captured for the yearbook, or helped during an in-school activity, they still remember her and say “Hi, Miss Adrienne,” or “Hi, Miss Lockton.”

“It’s not like I was ever a teacher, but you know, they remember which is kind of cool. And they change so quickly. They’re so tall,” she said with a laugh.

“It goes by pretty fast when you think about it. I can’t believe my youngest (Travis) is going to middle school.”

But her toes are already in the waters there, too, albeit in a different capacity.

“They don’t need as much help because the kids are older and more independent,” she said. “But I do get involved as much as I can with fundraising and parent council at that school as well.”

Lockton is on parent council at Senator Riley Junior High, participates in Council of School Councils, plans numerous fundraisers and events and helps with end- of-year events.

In her spare time, she’s studying full-time through Bow Valley College and helps with her son’s sports teams.

Balancing it all is like a delicate dance and Lockton has figured out the footwork.

FM-Yearbook Mom BWC 5155
Volunteer Adrienne Lockton snaps some photos at Joe Clark School in High River on March 24. Lockton volunteers by creating the photography for and laying out the school's yearbooks. Brent Calver

“It’s lots of setting reminders on my phone and scheduling,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun. I like to be involved in the kids’ schools. Especially when they’re still young and like that I’m around.”

Finding people to volunteer is always a challenge, she said.

“People are always so busy working and families need both incomes so it’s hard,” she said.

But the skills she’s learned through her time volunteering have been lucrative.

Other than mastering multi-tasking, Lockton said she’s had to jump in headfirst into graphic design and layout and photography to complete yearbooks.

Meanwhile, organizing events, fundraising and sitting on parent councils have given her a leg up on the course work she studies now in her administrative professional program.

Paying it forward

As COVID-19 appears smaller and smaller in the world’s rearview mirror, more volunteer opportunities are coming up.

Heuver’s advice for new volunteers: “Make sure you find something you enjoy doing.

“It makes it a lot easier to give your time if you’re enjoying it yourself.”
Connecting with someone who is already involved with the program you’d like to volunteer with is a good way to ensure you’re not going it alone.

“Know your time is a gift and that you’re giving it to everyone else,” Heuver said. “Don’t be afraid to give it.”

Lockton said volunteering takes a certain kind of personality.

“I feel like a lot of people have to be very extroverted,” she said. “But this is also a skill that people can learn by volunteering.”

Lockton said volunteering can also help connect a person more closely with their community as it brings a sense of civic pride and responsibility.

For those interested in volunteering, Heuver and Lockton said reach out to local community groups and see what opportunities are available.

There’s no shortage of options. After all, it takes a village.