Monday, March 21, 2011

more green and the start of a legacy


Mr. G brought this home from school Friday--his favorite green things. It was too darn-tootin' cute not to share. That first one is "soda" not "Yoda"--he loves Mountain Dew, even though he only drinks it on rare occasions. For years I'd successfully convinced the boys that it was beer and therefore off-limits. (Yes, I've deliberately lied to my children--if you're judging me right now, then I'm sure you haven't got three sons.) A couple years ago some "helpful" adult at a graduation party clarified for Team Testosterone that Mountain Dew is soda and perfectly fine for them to drink. Continuing clockwise, he's got "army" and "snake" and "T-Rex."

But Mr. G loving green things isn't the legacy I want to brag about today (even though Team Testosterone receives the bulk of my love and resources). As regular readers know, I've been president of the Happyland Elementary PTA for years. My dream was threefold: 1) not kill the group 2) double its fund raising prowess 3) do more than buy construction paper and glitter for the classrooms.

On count #1, I'm glad to report the group didn't die out under my leadership--granted, there were a few meetings where only 5 people attended and I got panicky. But another woman and I brainstormed and figured out how to recruit members to increase parent involvement. We're rich in numbers now, volunteers come forward to work events all the time and the committees have the most diverse populations to date (instead of the same 3-5 people running every single PTA thing).

On count #2, we've done pretty well financially--back in November 2004 the treasurer's report was $2,458.81, November 2009 we had a balance of $14,672.13 (this is all public record, I'm not revealing any classified PTA secrets here). We've bought big pieces of playground equipment, books, furniture, supplies and technology. Happyland PTA is a force to be reckoned with, doing good and leaving their stamp all over that school.

Count #3 was my vision--I wanted Happyland Elementary to be more than a fund raising group. I wanted them to have political voice to advocate for our school to the community and its leaders. I wanted them to use their resources to do more than purchase school supplies. I wanted them to become a group engaging in discussions about education and kids and parenting--not bogged down in planning sock hops and bake sales. I about burst out of my seams at meetings these days--the parents involved are bringing in experts on parenting to run seminars on discipline and boundaries. They're understanding that they can and should use their voice at school board meetings. They're wanting to do more for the elementary school than plan monthly events.

The coup de gras begins today: the first artist-in-residence booked and sponsored by Happyland Elementary PTA is in town doing special art classes with our kids for the next two weeks. The enthusiasm for this program is amazing--a meet-and-greet breakfast for the artist and staff was hosted by some moms in our group. For the next two weeks the artist has at least 2 volunteers to assist her in the classroom. The PTA caught the vision of how we can enrich our school and my dream is that this year's artist-in-residence is the beginning of many in years to come--songwriters, dancers, actors, musicians, writers, poets, painters, sculptors.

What a legacy to contribute towards--infusing children with a passion for the arts.

This year's artist is painting a mural in our cafeteria--an industrial space currently painted boring beige and white. Three panels of one wall will colorfully interpret a theme she works on with the students--a permanent record of what Happyland Elementary PTA envisions. The students will also paint several canvases to be hung around our school--hopefully these canvases inspire generations of students with their beauty and creativity.

I wanted to leave a legacy--something more substantial than empty jars of glitter and paste and used-up reams of construction paper. Today it's beginning and I feel so excited. We've got the resources in place to continue an artist-in-residence program for years to come and I know it will because I've seen the enthusiasm growing for it over the last couple months. After these two weeks, I feel confident that "Artist-in-Residence" will be as anticipated annually as the Sock Hop.

Spill it, reader. What's the legacy you're working on leaving behind?

23 comments:

  1. Wow. I am so incredibly impressed with your legacy! You're really making a difference!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I regularly lie to the Stooges with a straight face, and they usually believe me. One has to do these things.

    Love the Army guy especially.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What an awesome story. You should be proud of yourself. My legacy has been raising four wonderful children who are now outstanding young adults. The other legacy I'm currently working on is bringing a wave of hope, health and healing to my city, our state, the United States and beyond. It's a huge task but so gratifying.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What is it with boys and Mountain Dew?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow! How wonderful! Is this a public or private school?

    I'm a teacher, and I have a 10 year old daughter --I believe her education is the most important thing that my husband and I can give her, to make sure she has a happy and fulfilling life. And education is about a LOT more than reading, writing, math and testing. You must be very proud to have accomplished so much.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh my gosh, I am so proud and in awe of what you have achieved. Kudos!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bravo to you for molding the PTA into a meaningful organization.

    I thought my legacy would be to work through the class I organize at my church to create a group of future church leaders who are open-minded, caring and curious. After 3 years, it's not working out too well, which is a mite disappointing for me. But then, it's not really up to me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am thoroughly impressed with you and the rest of the parents at your school! My PTA consists of a group of close friends who focus entirely on having fun events for the kids... sock hop, variety show, and harvest festival topping the list. (They held a contest for the arts at the beginning of the year, but forgot to judge all of the entries. My kids were heartbroken). You are inspiring me to go help out and make a difference!

    ReplyDelete
  9. So impressive!! What a great job you have done.

    Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  10. That's amazing how much you've done for your schools. I'm really impressed. I can't say that I have a legacy but I hope my writing one day will entertain and brighten peoples lives.
    xoxo
    SC

    ReplyDelete
  11. Below is the link to the program I was involved in. I ran it for our school for several years, taught in it for 9 and my legacy is two Jackson Pollack-style paintings that were done by visitors to Open House one year--they're hanging in the media center.

    You're doing great work!

    http://www.artcorpssd.com/

    ReplyDelete
  12. YOU GO. You are a force to be reckoned with. You rock. No lack of purpose here...

    Legacy? I'm just trying to make it through the next few years... If The Creator wills, I may be able to equip two children in the autism spectrum with enough skills to take care of themselves as adults. I may have to settle for going 1 for 2. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. yeah for you on all 3 counts!!!!! My school has about 5 people on the PTA and my hat goes off to them all the time. Did you write any posts about your state's teacher crisis?? All us teachers around the country have been aching for you and what is to come for us next...

    My legacy is to not get killed by any of my students. Or co-workers. Or parents. And whether they realize it or not (which they just about never do and my job is extremely thankless) actually help a few kids out along the way...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, and I'm totally bummed that his picture ISN'T yoda!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. That is so awesome!!!!!!! You do realize tho that you will NEVER be able to leave your position now. People will riot. You will be forced to stay forver, you are doing such an amazing job. :)

    I have always told my boys that soda is OFF LIMITS. It is just so ucky. They have only had soda on very rare occasions (New Years Eve one year, the Superbowl maybe). And SHAME on the person who let your boys in on the secret that Mountain Dew is soda. Seriously. Shame.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love the legacy. Bringing art to the kids is a wonderful contribution. Such an enrichment to the educations. I still have art projects my kids made in school - cherish them.

    I remember our elementary PTA (of which I was an overly in-active participant) was working on bringing in an IT person to manage the classroom computers. Yawn.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow what an amazing story and awesome legacy.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Can I join your P.T.A.???

    I want to leave a legacy of grace that sets convention on its ear. A legacy that says that abused and abandoned children are precious. And that sees the potential for their abusers and those who have abandoned them to become people who no longer resemble those capable of the acts perpetrated on their victims. The first part is laudable in most people's eyes, but the second part is scandalous. That makes it all the more necessary.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am absolutely in awe of what you have achieved at Happyland Elementary. You can be proud of yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great job! If we had even a handful of parents who were as dedicated to the kids as you are we'd have one heck of a school.

    ReplyDelete
  21. That sounds AWESOME! I'm very involved with the PTA at my sons' school, and I think this would be a great way to use some of the funds we've raised. Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I just want to know how you get people to come to Parent Group meetings. There are 4 people on the board and three of us that attend the meetings. Volunteers, that is so funny. I had 10 people who said they would help with yearbook and one that actually did. PLEASE SHARE YOUR SECRET.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Every children feel entertaintainment in playground place for playground equipment.

    ReplyDelete

Spill it, reader.