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Why You Should Volunteer at Your Child's School

Join the PTA, Chair a Committee, and Be a Proactive Parent and Participant

It was about midway through my son's Kindergarten career, when I decided to check out a PTA meeting for the first time last year. I was feeling a bit intimated by this close-knit posse of über involved mama bears, but eager to get a little insight on the behind-the-scenes aspects of our elementary school. And since my little guy wasn't all that forthcoming about his day-to-day school activities, I hoped this meeting would give me a peek at the inner workings. Well, that initial meeting had me hooked. I learned more in 45 minutes than I had in the months prior. And it opened doors for me--I made new friends in my new neighborhood, opened up to volunteer opportunities, and got involved in my child's education. 

When I was asked to join the board for the following year, I jumped at the opportunity to do more, to be around more, to have a presence and opinion in the school. 

The PTA or whatever parent-community driven fundraising group inhabits your district and school can make a huge difference; it can also get a rap for having super-type A obnoxious moms on a mission... and I'm here to debunk that myth! The truth is: It is what you, as a parent make it. So show up to the meetings when you can, read those newsletters and emails, participate in surveys, donate if possible, fundraise at local businesses, and volunteer time--you'll be rewarded and so will your child.

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5 Reasons to Get Involved in Your Parent Teacher/Community Association

1. Gather Some Intel 

My son is a closed book. I ask him specific questions about his day and get very vague answers. "Who did you eat lunch with?" "What games did you play at recess?" "What was the art project completed today?" More often than not, he'll tell me he doesn't remember: "That was so long ago, Mom." Yeah, a whole three hours. 

While I don't quite get to be a fly on the wall in his classroom, attending meetings at the school and staying abreast of current affairs give me ample insight into the day-to-day activities that my son would otherwise neglect to mention.

2. Get Inside Access

As an active volunteer in the school, I get to spend more time with the principal, the teachers, and the staff. I've developed more personal relationships with the people who educate my kids, and that's so important. Plus spending time inside the school walls within the school hours enables me to get the sneak peeks I crave. I've been able to be a bit of a spy--I just have to try to avoid getting caught by my kiddo.

3. Meet New People and Parents

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Meeting and making mom friends is no easy task. Volunteering side-by-side with a bunch of likeminded mamas is one way to expedite an otherwise awkward process. I've made so any new friends working the register at the book fair or handing out water at the "fun run."

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4. Do Something Fun

There are more ways than one to get involved. You can do something behind the scenes like collect Box Tops--or you can organize the school talent show! Do something that aligns with your passion and excites your children, and it's a win-win for everyone.

5. Encourage a Love of Learning and Community

We all want what's best for our children. By taking active roles in their school community, we lead by example and show them just how much we value their love of learning and community citizenship. 

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Next Read: Volunteering as a Family

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