Sunday, November 09, 2008

PTA !?

I'd like to share an amazing experience with you about my recent political journey, as briefly as possible of course , :-) in the hopes of influencing some of you to join the PTA ! Yes your local PTA. You do not have to have children in school to be a member and our dues are $5 a year here in Upstate ,NY!

I home schooled my children for umpteen years while learning how to become more politically active. Knowing I'd be unhappy as a politician I was unsure for a while how to make headway & make change in a socially respectable way vs civil disobedience. Protests don't seem to have the punch they used to, & I have young kids after all & I'd be if no use to them in jail.

Last year they decided to go to public school for various reasons & I decided to join the PTA to be close by and hopefully have some influence in keeping them safe . I had no idea what the PTA did but it was very accessible & open to everyone. I had no idea how to be a board member but I volunteered to be Vice President, no one else would. I thought I'd be safe as a rookie and learn from the President. Be a gofer , whatever.

Well lo and behold as it turns out all of us were new and after becoming part of the PTA e-mail loop I learned that the PTA is about political advocacy for our children & schools ! Yes, lobbying , voter awareness of current legislation & connection to a huge national organization with some actual influence in Washington & at the state level. Not only that but what a bunch of great people !

I started a discussion about organics in the cafeteria, getting rid of pesticides , & starting a community garden among other things. Well , it was moving slowly but there was hope, no one denied it would be a good thing.

My Green PTA President approached me about attending the convention . The PTA budget financed our admission. By the way a Green PTA Pres. & VP working together is a first in this community. So, I have to share that I just this weekend attended my first PTA National Convention hosted this year here in Rochester, NY . And guess what !? They held workshops promoting "Green Living " ; organics in the schools , school gardens, nontoxic cleaners & the harm of pesticides among many other things! Some of the workshops were even taught by Greens ! Whole rooms of people who thought like us ! I was amazed & delighted of course.

They offered strategies on how to begin bringing these Green habits to our local schools & communities while developing lasting relationships & leadership skills for adults & our children when we involve them in this Green living agenda . Everyone was friendly and helpful.
The only small down side was the new buzz word "green" being used lightly by the different vendors , but I of course let them know (in some cases) that using recycled materials for their product or voting Green is the way to go if you're going to promote living, selling & calling yourself "green".

All in all an enlightening & inspiring experience that I never would've known about if my children hadn't led me there. Please , if you want to get active in a way that is accessible , powerful, & affords you any level of commitment you choose, join your local PTA , NOW !

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