PTO for Beginners {and the Socially Awkward}

My parents are still friends with the parents of my friends from when I was in grade school. I wanted that! But when my son started kindergarten three years ago, I knew very few parents and was not close to the ones I did know. So, I had to think of ways to involve myself at the school, which was difficult with a hectic work schedule and socially awkward tendencies.

Thankfully, the PTO meetings were in the evenings, so I started attending. I really liked what the PTO was doing and how it was helping me meet people. So at the end of my son’s first grade year, they asked for nominations for someone to become the President Elect, and I decided to volunteer. A few months later, I got the position!

The past year has been a whirlwind in trying to update our PTO and find a new niche to get other parents involved. We don’t have a huge crowd at meetings, but it’s fun to meet new people and recognize familiar faces at events. I have co-chaired a fundraising event and volunteered for numerous other projects. It has been an awesome experience!

Here are some of my tips for getting involved in your child’s school ::

Don’t be afraid to volunteer. Volunteers are the lifeblood of PTO. As a working mom, I didn’t know if I could fulfill the obligations of everything that would need to be done. But I’m so happy I decided to volunteer. We have a great group of people on our PTO board, and we have a mix of working parents, stay at home parents, and parents who have gone back to school. Everyone’s schedules are diverse, and we all fill in and help as needed. We also have parents who have stepped up and are not on the PTO board but have volunteered for numerous things, and without them we wouldn’t have been able to do all that we’ve done.

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My stack-o-Campbell’s labels that I volunteered to sort and count. I can knock these out in about 2 lunch hours.

Know that you can’t do everything. And you shouldn’t be expected to. We love our volunteers! {See above}.
Voice your opinion. New voices are no less important than old voices, so don’t think just because you don’t go to every meeting or volunteer for everything your opinion doesn’t matter. You may have the idea that changes the school!
Make friends. These are the people you are going to be spending the next 12ish years attending functions with. Wouldn’t it be more fun if you were friends? I can tell you from experience it is. I’ve had to assert myself in certain situations (awkward!), but it has been well worth it. {And we’re still friends!}
Be prepared to get crafty. PTO’s aren’t made of money. We fundraise, and most of that money goes to make the school better and more enjoyable for the teachers and students. So sometimes, you have to get creative when you want something. We had an awesome group of PTO moms make a week’s worth of goodies for all the teachers at our school for Teacher Appreciation week. They spent less than $150 on 220 gifts! And they all turned out super cute!

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Cute fruit to go with muffins on day 1 of Teacher Appreciation Week! We LOVE Pinterest!

In my experience as a member of our school’s PTO, I have met so many people and know that what I’m doing makes our school a better place. And at the end of the day, we’re all doing this for our kids and to make their school the best place it can be. And that’s all that matters!

One Response to PTO for Beginners {and the Socially Awkward}

  1. Terra Heck June 8, 2015 at 1:17 am #

    I volunteered for PTO when my boys were younger. Once in a while I now help with the Booster Club to help raise funds for sports. I think parents should get involved and those tips you listed are great.

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