Sep 28, 2012

The blog in which I don't run a telethon for education.

We have been back to school now for almost two full months, and I have felt like my wallet has been exhausted.  From school supplies and clothes, to PTA and other fundraisers, the public school just isn't "free" anymore.  I have been grappling with the extra expenses, and finally, had an opportunity to question the PTA president on the latest fundraiser they are pushing, and I think that more parents need to know a bit more about this, the Boosterthon.

First, I refuse to sell items for fundraising for anything.  I will not ask my migits to go door to door selling.  One, because there are many other children in the neighborhood already selling it, or my neighbors might send their children to my house to support their extracurricular sports and activities, and in all honesty, it's not in my budget.  I find warmth, water, electricity and food to be more along the lines of my budget lately, and from making my own laundry detergent to budgeting how many miles I should allow myself to drive, I think wrapping paper that costs more than a present is out of my budget.    

Second, I will not allow my children to ask family for money.  Both sets of grandparents have numerous grandchildren, and to give to one would mean that they have to support all of them, and that will get difficult for anyone.  Aunts and uncles all have their own sets of children to support at schools, and that would be hard for us to reciprocate.  As you can see, I refuse to send wide-eyed, beautiful beggars out into the community, and I don't care what prizes that the fundraiser offers my children on behalf of their panhandling.

I do, however, feel a responsibility to our schools to make sure that my money is spent wisely.  I will often ask a teacher if there are any school supplies they are in need of.  It might be a package of wipes, or tissues, or dry erase markers they are needing, and honestly, I have no problem helping out the class in that way.  If I had more money, I'd be the first in line to buy that new white board, or computer.  But for now, I help in small ways, hoping to make a big difference in a teacher's own budget.

So, in walks Shayna from school telling me all about the pep rally for the "Boosterthon," meeting all the cool characters and the how she wants pledges so that she can get "cool prizes."  She sounded like someone was selling her a bridge in the country, but I wasn't going to burst her bubble just yet.  Two days in a row she talked about it.  (Sorry, it's the middle of the night, and I just had a small panic attack.  I thought maybe Canton was hit by a terrorist attack because my eyes started watering from a sudden, horrific smell.  False alarm.  Brody just gased.  Nasty, nasty.)  I was annoyed that I felt like Scrooge, but told her, that I really couldn't justify sending in the FIFTY DOLLARS per kid that each teacher had suggested we raise/give.  It's not the teachers, I know that.  It's the school's needs, and I feel responsible, yet, not able to pay that.  The fact that Geoff works from 8:AM-7 or 8:PM each night doesn't help enough to even pay our own bills, let alone our free education's needs since budget cuts have affected it so tremendously.

While I know that Shay had her heart set on some "cool" prizes, I am excited to use my decision to teach a fantastic lesson in giving.  First, I believe that everyone should give of themselves without expecting something in return.  I live my life like this.  I give because I want to.  Whether it's a gift, a donation, or of my time, I feel a need to give, and hope that what I have to offer can put a smile on some one's face, or make an organization run smoother because of my time and talents.

Another parent asked on the PTA's Facebook forum about the actual percentage of the money raised that will go back to the school.  About HALF!  Holy smokes.  So,  turns out, the company that runs this fundraiser really does so much of the work, and with the cost of the prizes, this is the best fundraiser for us.  So, I thought, if the school is suggesting that each child raise $50, that means, they are only expecting about $25 per student.  That would mean, I could give a total of $50 since I have two children, and NOT do it through the Boosterthon, but directly to the PTA, and while my migits won't get any cool prizes, the school directly receives the same amount of money,  I spend half, and if that is the lesson I want my children to learn.  Sometimes you give and expect nothing in return.  Give humbly.

I'm working hard to justify many decisions for my children.  And hopefully, the level of awareness will be raised for the future.  If all for the sake of not getting that "cool" prize.

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