Getting Parents to Volunteer for School

Life Rope — Inspiring Parents to Volunteer

The Life Rope — a talk to get parents to volunteer

Why the Life Rope Works?
The Life Rope connects to people emotionally. It emphasizes how little time we have to instill values in our children and that that time will come to an end before you know it.

Preparing the Life Rope Talk

  • String/rope 80 to 100 inches long
  • Use a marker to mark the rope at 10 inches, 13 inches, 16 inches, 18 inches, 25 inches, 30 inches, 33 inches and 43 inches (see image above).
  • Prepare ahead of time — don’t read this page in front of the group. Tell it as a story in your own words. Make it your own.

Life Rope Talk — Introduction
Invite two parents to hold the rope, stretching it so the entire audience can see the rope. Face the audience from behind the rope.

Explain to the parents that this rope represents your child’s life, with every inch representing one year.

Using your finger, indicate this is when they were born. Then move your fingers down the rope to indicate life milestones, like the first laugh, the first day of school. Help them visualize their child’s past.

Life Rope Talk — Bridge
When you get to the age your school’s age range, pause and indicate right now they are about X years old (use your school’s age range).

  • In just a couple years, they will be a teenager (show 13-inch mark). Soon they will be driving (show 16-inch mark).
  • A little bit later, they will be 18 (18-inch mark). Here, they are building the career foundation. When they are 25 they are beginning their career (25-inch mark).
  • Let’s say they get married at 30 (show 30-inch mark) and a few years later have children. Congratulations, you are grandparents now! (show 33-inch mark).
  • And here is where your grandchild is 10 (43-inch mark). Your child is now sitting where you are, trying to raise their child the best they can.

Next, use your right hand to indicate this is where your child is now in life. Without moving your right hand, use your left hand to indicate when high school starts, the red area pictured above.

Now you pick up their emotions and squeeze because at this moment, they are realizing their kids are growing up fast and that in a few years, their kids will be adults. When I first saw this, it choked me up. It still does. To the parents, use your own words and say something like:

This is it, this is the time you have left to influence your child’s value system. In a few years, they will look to their friends, and your opinion will not be as important. Even though your child has their whole life in front of them, you only have a few more years to build their character foundation.

Volunteering in your child’s school gives you an opportunity to create memories your child will never forget.

Life Rope Talk — The Ask
We are all busy, and everyone’s time is limited. Your child needs you to volunteer. What do you want your child to remember? My parents were always too busy to help, or they were involved. You get to decide how they will remember you now.

We have many opportunities that will fit your skills and schedule.

Life Rope Talk — Call to Action

  1. On the sheet of paper we handed out or on the board is a web address
  2. Pull out your phone and go to it.
  3. Select the volunteers opportunities that interest you. You are not signing up, you are just indicating where you feel comfortable helping. see example
  4. You will get a confirmation email after you signup.

Life Rope Talk — Referral Ask
You don’t have to be a parent to volunteer. We have grandparents that love volunteering. Just send them the link.

Life Rope Talk — Close
Imagine how excited your child will be when they find out you are helping their school. Even if you just sign-up to coordinate snacks, your child will be excited. Think of the example you are setting.

Here’s an example of a volunteer interest sign up. Get ready for your meeting or back to school night by creating your own volunteer interest sign up at