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Get to Know Your PTO

“I don’t see the value in joining PTO.”
“Another bake sale… What for? I don’t see where all the money goes.”
“I don’t like to fundraise, that’s all they do.”
“Too much drama and politics, disguised under the mantra of “supporting our school”…”
“They’re not of much help. When I needed them, I got no support.”

Everyone of us has once heard, thought or said aloud such words about PTO. One could spend hours debating the whys and the wherefores, and I know for sure everyone of us has a different reason or story behind those lines, a singular perception of what this enigmatic organization could do for our community. We all have assumptions, and I had mine, quite well established.

One day, not long ago, I was invited to be part of the organization. After some consideration, balancing pros and cons, I decided to give it a shot. And when aboard, a new world unfolded right before my eyes: all my assumptions were knocked down by the amount of programs, commitments and initiatives that comprise the backbone of PTO. An awful lot of work.
 
Welcome Back Barbecue, Halloween Party, Winter Bazar, Special Celebrations, Summerfest? 100% funded and organized by PTO. Teachers’ grants, field trips, graduation parties and gifts, faculty/staff appreciation gifts, CEESA support, to name a few? Ditto. No wonder the amount of fundraisers, merchandise selling, raffles, bake sales… Behind all this there’s a whole system that depends and counts on the volunteer work of a few board members.
 
I didn’t know any of it. I guess that would be a valid assumption (!) to say that a significant number of parents in our community are also oblivious to these facts…
 
Since last year, we’ve been working hard to improve our communication, opening new channels and creating opportunities (given the circumstances) to engage and involve parents. Our Facebook Group was revamped and a new connecting app – Classlist – was implemented at the beginning of this year. Things have improved dramatically and since then we have had wonderful feedback. We want more! We want your ideas, we want your frustrations, we want your thoughts and your support!
 
Whether you are ready to commit to being on the board or just want to be a supportive member at large, there are so many things you can do:

  • Consider an officer position: we all have a hidden talent and a super-power!
  • Be involved in whatever way makes the most sense for you and your family: write a check, make a donation, buy a hoodie, volunteer your time.. Don’t feel obligated to sign up for or do everything—anything helps.
  • Stay connected and active via Facebook and Classlist. Stay informed.
  • Be patient and kind with us: we make mistakes – a lot. If something we do is not up to par, be compassionate and ask how you can help.
  • If you have a small business, please consider being our sponsor. If you know of someone who would be willing to do so, please help us connect with them!

 
I’m truly grateful for the leap of faith I took last year, working alongside dedicated volunteers. Not everything happens according to plan, but we learn from our mistakes and keep an open mind and positive attitude while focusing on our main goal: building a happy school community.
 

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