Our Denver JDS PTO is making a difference

PTO Volunteers
  • Lower Division
  • PTO
  • Upper Division
Dr. Haidi Demain, Denver JDS parent
PTO Volunteers

By Denver JDS parent Dr. Haidi Demain

Have you ever thought about your motivation for volunteering at our school? Have you ever asked yourself why you should take your already limited time and find one more hour in the day to help the students, teachers, and staff at Denver JDS? Well, I have and here’s my motivation:  

When I look for volunteer opportunities at Denver JDS, I want the opportunity to meet at least one of three objectives:  

1) I am able to model this valuable behavior for my children — of giving of my time for others.  Modeling our behavior (doing rather than discussing) is one of the strongest tools we have as parents to teach our kids to copy and continue these behaviors into their adulthood. 
2) I enjoy being a part of a process of thinking strategically and working as a team (with both parents and staff and teachers) to approach a problem that needs careful and deliberate problem solving.  
3) Working on committees is social and truly a lot fun! It is a special and unique way to connect with parents and grandparents, one person at a time, which in turn creates long-lasting friendships for the whole family.

This brings me to sharing the beauty of volunteering for our PTO specifically. This opportunity brings all three objectives together, as it gives me a chance to model my behavior (even counting box tops at our kitchen table), strategize on how to improve the experience for our teachers and families each year, and allows me to engage and connect deeply with other parents. And for my talented friends on PTO… I am repeatedly inspired by watching them pursue passions and creativity which they then share with all of us.

Over the past two years, Denver JDS parents involved in PTO have worked really hard, whether through our fall silent auction, Mishloach Manot (Purim baskets), Ice Cream Fridays, the Scholastic Book Fairs, counting Box Tops, and so much more.  

As a parent, I know it can feel that we are sponsoring things over and over again. Have you ever wondered where the PTO money is going? I want to let you know that we save the money we raise, and when we have enough we use it for meaningful projects that benefit the students throughout the school. Just two years ago, the PTO built the shade structure near the Strear Family Gymnasium. I’m happy to say that the continued efforts of PTO parent volunteers and the money our families have generously donated have impacted our school once again. 

When visitors come to our school, they are able to witness the depth or our educational experience. However, we, as parents and PTO members, also want to nurture what our kids experience in their physical space and social well-being. As a PTO, we can help contribute to those objectives. PTO went through a process of asking for wish lists from both divisions, consulted with administrators and teachers, while focusing on the social, fun aspects for our kids. 

After taking a vote at one of our meetings, we decided to do the following with the $30,000 that had been raised:

  • Install a traverse climbing wall (think sideways climbing wall) in the Strear Family Gymnasium (benefits K-12)!!
  • Repair two basketball hoops in the Strear Family Gymnasium (benefits K-12)
  • Upgrade iPads and Chromebooks (benefits grades 2-5)
  • Purchase new SmartBoards (benefits grades K-1)
  • Procure additional speakers for Strear Family Gymnasium (benefits K-12)
  • Add mounted projectors in Upper Division science labs and the Malman/Opatowski Board Room (benefits grades 6-12)

Look for all these amazing projects this coming fall!

Remember, as a Denver JDS parent you’re automatically a member of our PTO! For questions about PTO, contact incoming PTO President Alyson Slatkin at pto@denverjds.org

Denver JDS strongly recommends that each of its families strive for a goal of engaging in school activities for a minimum of 18 hours each school year. Examples include attending a parent-teacher conference, serving as a room parent, attending a school sporting event, chairing a school event, or participating in some other activity. More information about this coming in the fall of 2019.

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