Diane Vibhakar is the kind of volunteer that all coordinators hope to have in their program. Diane helps in all capacities: she folds and staples, she stands in the rain at bus stops, she decorates all day for the big reception, she serves on advisory committees that meet to be sure that a parent’s voice is heard and she stores boxes and boxes of books in her house for the Reading is FUNdamental program. Diane Vibhakar embodies what Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) is all about.
Diane has held just about every volunteer job that exists in the Little Rock School District. From PTA president, to VIPS chairperson, to Partners in Education liaison, to district-wide Reading is FUNdamental coordinator, to tutor, reader and bus stop monitor, to helping design the Vital Link program, to serving on numerous district-wide advisory committees and task forces, to helping lead the district through a community-wide strategic planning process; she’s done it all.
Diane lives and breathes the Little Rock School District all day, every day. She is a recognized parent leader in the district, and she does it all in a quiet, unassuming manner. Diane likes to be a behind-the-scenes worker, not the public mouthpiece for a project. She is in it for the kids—all kids—not just her own.
Diane commits her time to the areas of need that she feels are greatest in the district. She took on Reading is FUNdamental because she saw that the students in the district were going to miss an opportunity to receive free books since there was no one to coordinate the program. The same is true for the art program, Young Authors program, Junior Great Book program and the tutoring program that she helped start at Fulbright Elementary School.
Diane is always a hands-on volunteer, even when she is in a leadership role. Diane almost single-handedly coordinated the district’s Reading is FUNdamental program which included distributing thousands of free books to students. Diane ordered, stored and delivered all of those books.
Last year, Diane chaired VIPS’ 25th Anniversary Service Day, which placed a volunteer reader in each of the district’s 673 elementary classrooms. This was something that had never been done in VIPS’ 25 years with the school district.
Diane’s volunteer efforts with the district have affected literally thousands of children. The Junior Great Books program at Fulbright is still active, with volunteers working with hundreds of students each year. The Reading is FUNdamental program provided books to 8,000 students over its four years. The Service Day readers read to 14,459 students on March 25, 1998 and again on November 17, 1998. These are just three of the many programs that Diane has impacted in her 13-year service to the Little Rock School District.
Diane Vibhakar is a hard worker, clearly committed to public education and one of the best examples of true parent and community involvement.