Sunday, January 22, 2012

1/22/12: Get Involved With Your School's PTO!

Did you know that your school's Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is responsible for funding and running so many fun events that your kids get to participate in? 
As a public service announcement for every school's PTO out there I am asking you to think about volunteering your time.  Even if it is only a half hour or hour during an event.  Don't be overwhelmed, you can even do some work in your house that would help out so much at your school.
At our school our Ditson Student Association funds many programs and also supplements classroom materials and events.  We provide each child a Ditson folder and pencil at the beginning of school.  In addition our students and families enjoy special programs, activities and events including Field day, Holiday Fair, Family Nights (including a Halloween Party, Star Party, Family Picnic, etc), Fifth Grade Party and Yearbook, Awards Day, Reading Program, funding towards field trips, special programs for the classrooms and much more.
I know, I know, you don't have the time.  Well that is fair but understand that you don't need to attend every PTO meeting, you don't have to volunteer for hours upon hours.  Give the time that you can.  It some cases you can even do some work to help out from home. 
I did that last year when I designed the buttons for the Holiday Fair.  I just did some work on my computer and provided the print outs.
I was lucky enough this year to help out with the Yankee Doodle Parade Float for our town's parade which was dangerously close to not having participation from our school due to lack of volunteers.  Luckily myself and two others stepped up to work on a plan and a float for the parade.  Look at this wonderful group of ladies that worked together to get this done and walked with students. 
The 5th generation grandchildren of Thomas Ditson (our school's namesake) were the Grand Marshall's of the Parade.  It would have been a horrible shame if we didn't participate.  Look at the smiles on these kids faces.
I have also been fortunate enough to run the Art Show.  Another event that is run for all the schools and would not be possible without parent volunteers.
Notice that I always say that I was lucky enough to participate as I get as much enjoyment out of volunteering at school as the kids do.  I get to know Evan's classmates better, I get to know their parents and I get a big smile from Evan when I am there.  Last year Evan was in Kindergarten so it was our first year at the school.  I was a little intimidated attending PTO meetings not knowing anyone as I can tend to be shy when I don't know anyone.  But as I became involved I got to meet lots of parents which makes it so much fun for me when at school functions or sporting events in town and to know others. 
Now my son is in 1st grade and I am the Co-Vice President of my PTO and have learned so much about the school and been able to work with administration in the school.  I am responsible for the school fundraisers which are a lot of work for the volunteers involved.  I know you probably dread when the booklets come home for fundraisers but just know that the money raised pays for many events your children enjoy and these fundraisers are much needed.  
Update (September 2013) - I am now the Co-President of the PTO and my stress level about parent involvement is even higher.  Please get involved.  The more the merrier!
We also do a Walk-a-Thon as a fundraiser in the spring and I was lucky enough to help with that last year.  It was wonderful seeing the students and teachers getting outside and getting some air and exercise while raising money for the school.  What a wonderful event!
 What have you got to lose?  Even if you can't attend a meeting, look on your school's website and reach out to your PTO's board or any PTO members you know and see if they need a helping hand.

1 comment:

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I think it is so important to be involved on some level, even if it's a small one. It's such an easy way to let your child know that you see school as important, and a great way to get to know school faculty members.