If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I ended up resigning from the PTA shortly after joining, and that some of the frustrations I had boiled to a head last week. I was MAD. Like wicked, ragey mad. And, if I’m honest, I was hurt and sad too. I had to step away from it all, and I didn’t end up going to the drive. Do I wish I had gone a bit? Perhaps. But sometimes, you just have to step away and cool off a bit, so that’s what I did. We had my niece’s birthday that day anyway, so I was busy with her.
The problem I was left with, aside from conflicted feelings about what had happened, was that I now had a stack of money I had collected all summer. It wasn’t a huge stack, but I had a couple of hundred dollars. The money had to go to the school or the PTA, but I was struggling with the decision on what to do with it. Part of me felt I should give it to the PTA, but part of me also recognized that I was in a unique position to help kids without being tied to any PTA rules.
You have to understand that the reason I signed up for the PTA in the first place was because our school got redistricted (I’ll use that instead of what is probably the more appropriate word, segregated. Needless to say, I have a great amount of frustration with a town who moves backwards instead of forewards). At the end of the day, our school would have several lower income families joining, and I wanted to do the drive to include them. Hell, even I am short on cash the first month of school, so anything that allows me to contribute without pouring money I don’t have in is a help. I joined because honestly, I like fundraising, I’m decent at it, and I wanted to help kids and teachers who didn’t have the funds they needed. I’d hate to have a child miss out on a field trip because the family just doesn’t have the funds. Things like that REALLY bother me If I can raise money so that child can have a learning experience like their classmates, I’m willing to do it. Sometimes the PTA doesn’t have the ability to help those kids financially.
I put the money in the car this morning while I did school drop off, and was mulling over how best to donate it. Do I give it to the PTA? Do I find another way to help the kids like I had first set out to do? I drove around the block after drop off, debating the issue back and forth in my head. Part of me felt I should just give it to the PTA. I wasn’t really angry anymore, just sad at how things had all gone down. That being said, I knew that I might have a unique opportunity I could use purely because I had raised the money while NOT part of the PTA, and had done all the work for it myself (one of the benefits of not getting help from anyone meant I had earned it myself).
Just then, I saw the principal standing by the crosswalk, greeting students walking in and wishing them a wonderful day. It felt a little like a sign. I asked if I could speak to her, parked the car, and followed her inside.
I explained a little of my reasoning for raising the money, that I had joined to help kids that really needed help, and my dilemma. I ended up donating the money to the “principle’s fund.” This fund, run by the principle of the school, usually gets funds from a soda machine, school pictures, and other small items. While there’s not a lot of money there, the principle uses it for the very reasons I wanted to donate….to help a kid attend a trip if the parents can’t afford it, if a teacher needs supplies for something for their class and can’t afford them, etc.
It seemed a perfect match. It lined up with everything I set out to do, and I immediately felt at peace with my decision.
I did message one of the lovely ladies on the PTA, and explained what I had done, and my reasons for it. I explained that at the end of the day, my goal was and always had been to help those who needed it most. I wanted to make sure any funds raised went directly to kids. The PTA has to fund a lot of things, but doing things this way had given me a great sense of comfort and peace.
Now that I know about the fund, I may try to contribute again in the future. Who knows, maybe more personal bottle drives are in my future. If I can help one child step up and get an experience, then I have done my job.