Community at it’s finest

by Ross Williams

After almost two years, the gates of Juanamaria Elementary are finally open to parents. I’ve had the pleasure of walking my children to the doors of their classrooms. I’ve seen the hooks lined with colorful backpacks in the halls and the happy children running to the playground as we parents all said our goodbyes. My wife and I were even able to sit at our daughter’s desks during Back to School night and have a quick chat with their teachers. School is back to normal and it’s fantastic.

The first few chaotic days of school are done and everyone has settled into the rhythm of the new school year. But there is a part of the school community that has been hard at work for months. The PTA/PTO Parent Teacher partnerships at our schools have been busy preparing all summer long. These hopeful parents are excited to be a part of their children’s academic lives and happily volunteer their time, energy, resources and patience.

I didn’t understand the amount of time and real focus that the parents who volunteer regularly put in. It truly is a “80-20 rule” relationship with a small percentage of the parents doing most of the heavy lifting. The PTA is run as an all-volunteer community program and these parents put in time and energy in exchange for their children to be able to participate in core memory, building fun activities and programs.

A field trip? A dance? A fun hula hoop assembly? All put together by the PTA and funded by programs such as the Sport A Thon, sales of T-shirts and candy, dining out collaborations with local restaurants and so much more. Each activity is made possible by the school children and their families. The work that they put in and the money that they collect make every single event possible.

With the PTA at the forefront, this is a community at its finest. All coming together for the good of their school and their children. And it’s hard work. There’s insurance and taxes, logistics and scheduling. Not to mention the long hours and hard labor involved in the design and decor.

I’ve always felt a little awkward hawking candy at Christmas for my kids and pushing for financial contributions for various school activities. My wonderful wife, a dedicated PTA volunteer and Girl Scout Troop Leader never had such qualms. Because she’s seen how the sausage is made. That every wonderful activity throughout the school year is made possible by our donated dollars and the wonderful people that roll up their sleeves.

We should all be so proud of our communities’ programs. They are all made possible by us as a whole. They are the definition of community.

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