Walking in Memphis

Memphis, 2010. Blues, BBQ, and PTA.

Conventions are an unusual creature. Energizing, enlightening, exhausting. You know you need to be in bed, resting for the next day of meetings, workshops, networking (literal and virtual) but too much is going on for you to be able to catch your breath. Did you hear? PTA has partnered with Nickelodeon and Dora to better able prepare our children and their families for kindergarten! Did you hear? Arne Duncan talked about how PTA makes all the difference and that our association is needed more now than ever in it's lengthy history! Did you hear? All Pro Dad and iMom (and Family First) know just how crucial parents are in the partnership to get our children to graduate. And yes, I may have known just how important parent engagement is, but it is invigorating to know that over 1400 people (moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) get it and feel it too.

I know this post is short, just like my plate of ribs at Rendevous were (promised son Seth a Man vs. Food moment and I was triumphant in my challenge..) and I will write more details about PTA initiatives that will be taking place. How today over 1400 people called DC at the same time to support the jobs bill especially when it comes to education and jobs for our teachers. Tony Dungy, All Pro Dads, and his wife Lauren (iMom) encouraged us to not only keep on keeping on, but to encourage others to do the same. We talked with a variety of vendors, collected a few trinkets to bring home to the kids as keepsakes, and danced at the convention dinner/party. Tomorrow there is more general meetings, more workshops, more data, more instruction, more excitement (Arts Luncheon), more PTA.

All the information is available (or will be soon available) on National PTAs website (www.pta.org), the information on Dora, the initiatives, the webinars, the e-learning. PTA is more than a bake sale or dad's building shelves. It is ADVOCACY. It is urging our Federal govt. to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, to work with parents as partners on making sure that, like Arne Duncan states, we take care of our children "cradle to career," that we partner with America's Promise (I am so honored to be judging the youth grants next week in Louisville), and the Annie E. Casey Foundation on their three A's approach to combat chronic absenteeism, or other established organizations, maybe those already in your city or state that are working on these initiatives. You don't always have to re-invent the wheel. Ask what you can do to strengthen and enhance the work that another group is doing. Show them what you can bring to the table. That we work on ASKING people to join in our efforts as well.

It is time for "a little less conversation and a little more action."

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