The assistant head of school for development shares what it means for parents to be part of this community.
This week, we celebrated the birthday of our founder, Louise Balmer. In 1926, she opened the Balmer School with just three teachers and four students. In her archived notes, we found one of her first students exclaiming, “This place feels like home!” Ninety-two years later, that same sentiment resonates in every corner of our campus.
Students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff still consider this school a second home. When asked to describe La Jolla Country Day School, I always say it is the students’ neighborhood. This is where their friends gather and their teachers, coaches and mentors nurture and support them. We are all drawn to celebrate this powerful sense of community.
There are many ties that bind us to this institution; our shared history, our investment of time and resources, and our belief that we have a responsibility to shape the next generation. As members of LJCDS, we applaud one another’s successes and support each other through challenges and disappointments. A strong school community provides opportunities to connect with people and a sense of belonging.
Philanthropy has always been a cornerstone of LJCDS. Every family benefits from those that came before them. We strengthen our relationships and commitments when we share our time, talent and connections. Our roots have been firmly established by generous families who willingly rolled up their sleeves and gave selflessly.
From serving as a room parent to welcoming new families through our summer programs to participating in our speaker series, there are endless ways to be involved at school. Parents and grandparents enjoy volunteering in our libraries or working the concession stand at athletic events. The Country Day Arts Alliance and Booster Club allow parents to actively support the interests of their children and their peers. Volunteers with artistic or athletic talent enhance our programs.
Parents often provide their professional expertise to help our students connect what they are learning in the classroom to the world around them. Internships or mentoring opportunities expose our students to life-changing experiences that set them up for success in college and beyond.
Volunteers serve on our Parents Association and in the development department daily. Country Day Fund parent ambassadors model philanthropy and teach the importance of yearly unrestricted giving. Our Blue Bash volunteers work tirelessly to plan a community event that raises funds for tuition assistance, faculty and staff professional development, our Parents Association and the endowment. (We hope to see you at Blue Bash on March 16!)
The strength of the LJCDS network extends into our alumni community. “What can I do?” or “How can I help?” have become the mantra of our alumni, eager to give back and continue to make a difference at their alma mater. Alumni support our admission office, volunteer in the athletic and arts departments, and mentor and advise our students through the college process. They demonstrate the lifelong value of their LJCDS education.
Every day is an opportunity to make a difference and strengthen the school. If you’re participating in a school activity, invite a new parent to join you. When attending sporting events, introduce yourself to someone you don’t know and sit with them. As you volunteer on campus, engage with parents outside of your own circle. You never know who you might inspire or encourage. Perhaps you’re the mentor someone is looking for.
We are grateful for all the ways our community supports one another and makes this place feel like our second home. If you want to get more involved but don’t know where to start, please reach out. We need you!
Louise Balmer claimed, “People were always the key ingredient to making the school successful.” It is a privilege to follow in her footsteps. Your investment and participation will leave a legacy that will last for generations.