Parent involvement changes as school fundraising events look different

NOW: Parent involvement changes as school fundraising events look different

LAKEVILLE, Ind. - Most parents want to participate in their kid's education, and being a part of the parent-teacher associations is just one way to help, but with fundraising events practically canceled this year because of the pandemic we ask, can parents still be involved? And what happens with that loss in funding?

A lot of schools rely on the money raised during these fundraisers and although schools like LaVille Elementary have figured out a way to hold virtual events, it’s not the same…. and the money that comes in isn’t either.

You might remember those class picnics...

"Normally in the fall we start off the year with our fun run," Lindsay Garrett, the PTO Vice President for LaVille Elementary said.

Bake-sales...

"Spring fling,” she said.

School barbeques...

"Book fairs, bingo nights, lots of things," she said.

For mother of 3 Lindsay Garrett, she remembers the events fondly.

"It's a fundraiser, but it's more of a FUNdraiser," she said.

And being a part of her kid's education, for many moms, is rewarding.

"Since our daughter was in kindergarten 14 years ago, I've been a part of the PTO," she said. "When we get to see the kids but then being able to help raise funds and be a sponsor and take part in these things just really feels great.”

"They are the connection between the home, the teacher and the students," Will Groves, the Assistant Principal at LaVille Elementary said.

A connection that Mr. Groves said is all too important.

"The parent is the student's first teacher," he said. "So keeping that connection and the flow of education for their child really is a good joining aspect to help push their student towards the future.”

But because of the pandemic... events stopped happening.

"Pre-COVID, post-COVID, two different things," he said.

"Well yeah, this year was definitely different. We started off the school year virtual so that main event of our fun run, we had to cancel, which was really sad. And we know the kids were really sad about it also. We were able to continue with online fundraisers, which obviously isn't very fun for the kids but it still keeps. It's a way for us to still raise funds that are still necessary for our PTO to continue," Garrett said.

Parents now having to look at virtual event options like….

"We've done a little caesars pizza sales, where it's an all-online event where a link is sent out to all parents. We are doing, actually, it's called a mud love bracelet sale right now, it's all handmade bracelets that our parents or you know can buy for their kids," Garrett said. “We're really trying to show the kindness that can still happen during this and the unity of our school and how strong our school community is.”

"It’s actually been neat because our virtual events are allowing people to connect with us that wouldn't have been able to connect you know grandparents people outside of our little community have been able to tune in," Groves said. "It's on their time so they can catch it at different times.”

But it’s not the same for parents wanting to participate.

"We haven't had to have a lot of parent involvement necessarily, other than sending out, you know, an email saying, you know, here's the link to the online fundraising,” Garrett said.

And the money raised isn’t the same either.

"So in a common year you know, there was a lot more, door to door kind of ways of collecting money and ways to get information out there and kind of retrieve and tap into the community resources. There have been challenges with that with the virtual world," Groves said.

"Generally our fundraising brings in we could bring in anywhere between 20 to 30,000," Garrett said. "With the virtual events, I would say around five or 6000.”

Tana: Okay so, I mean it took a big hit.

"It did," Garrett said. "Thank goodness we still had funds leftover from the previous year. So we've been able to continue, dispersing funds out as we normally do.

Where does the money go?

"We give teachers money per classroom. We know what's hard for teachers to pay for their extra supplies," she said. “We have a wide range of things that we donate to we give out scholarships to seniors at the end of the year so there's just a lot of things.

Although most interactions this past year have been made through a screen, both said they don’t think that will go away anytime soon.

“I would say that there's a lot of them that will continue to be virtual just because it's an easy fun fundraiser and the people like it so if parents are fine with doing that, then we'll definitely keep those," she said.

Lindsay said they have actually rescheduled the fun run for this spring with of course safety precautions like making sure classes stay in their own pods. And parents can volunteer for the event!

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