Most families join their local PTA for one of a short list of reasons.
- Some join because the PTA works together to advocate for and on behalf of children and youth in the schools. It is easier for the membership to push for change within a school than it is for a single parent.
- Others join for the mutual support that a local PTA offers. Parents, especially young parents, appreciate connecting with other parents for advice and emotional support. Parenting is hard.
- Some PTAs give parents a chance to complement the education provided by the school by offering enrichment programs for students.
- Some PTAs can be very fun to join by providing opportunities for parents and children to enjoy no- or low-cost outings and entertainment.
- Lastly, and maybe most importantly, PTA can be a great place to make friends. Having children and youth in the same school can be great common ground for friendships to form and grow.
The benefits of PTA extend far beyond this list. Whether or not they choose to take advantage of them, membership in PTA includes the following.
- Through a grassroots process open to all PTA members in the state, members establish and advocate for a legislative platform. Volunteers testify in Olympia every year on behalf of our members, working to improve the lives of our students and their families. National PTA has a similar process for influencing legislation in Washington DC.
- Local PTA leaders receive no- or low-cost training to help them lead and manage the local PTA organizations. While some of this training is specific to PTA, most of it applies to general business management, both nonprofit and for profit.
- At both the state and national level, PTA offers student engagement and recognition programs like Reflections. These programs help foster the talents of children and youth.
- With one of the largest membership bases at both the state and national levels, PTA is able to leverage strategic resources to better serve our members.
All this aside, I think that the greatest benefit that PTA offers is an unparalleled leadership development program. By volunteering to be a PTA leader at the local, council, region, state, and national levels, members gain access to incredible experience and training. PTA leaders have become leaders in all sectors of our society including government, schools, nonprofits, and corporations. You can, too.
Be safe and be well,
Andrew L. Estep
WSPTA Executive Director