Volunteer of the Year promotes art at Ocean Palms


Ocean Palms Elementary School’s Adult Volunteer of the Year, Amy Parent, was recently named St. Johns County School District’s Volunteer of the Year. Also recognized at the event was OPE’s Student Volunteer of the Year, Leighton Mackenzie.

It all started with an idea and a little creativity for Parent, PTO’s CAAP (Children’s Access to Art Program) chair, who wanted to expand this school art program by ensuring it reached every corner and classroom of Ocean Palms, which she achieved by hitting the pavement and recruiting more volunteers to the program, developing lessons and a training program, and securing additional funding.

CAAP volunteers ultimately bring color, creativity and art to classrooms, but they needed inspiration to participate long term with this program. As a result, Parent created an environment where art had a wider definition with which everyone could relate and feel as though they had something to share with students.

She continued to help volunteers on this journey with meaningful, formalized trainings and shared lesson plans and through co-teaching when requested.

Today, it is commonplace at OPE to see volunteers with printed art pieces and art supplies walking through the halls, to take in pieces of art hanging on doors or bulletin boards throughout the school, or to hear students mention an artist by name.

This is Parent’s CAAP legacy living on at Ocean Palms, four years after she first began volunteering at the school, and it truly is a work of art.