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?