By Kyle McCauley Belokopitsky, Esq., Executive Director

[Spring 2018 NYPT]

I am PTA. But I wasn’t PTA at one time. I was always a mom, a volunteer, a daughter, a spouse. But I wasn’t PTA. I didn’t know what PTA stood for, what it meant.

PTA was just the people who raised money, right? PTA was the moms who baked, right? Well, I did buy candles and chocolates, but I didn’t bake. But wow, I was totally and completely wrong.

You’ll hear that PTA is the largest and oldest child advocacy organization in our state (almost 122 years old!) and country. You’ll hear PTA started in New York. You’ll hear the tag line; “Every Child, One Voice.” You’ll hear that PTA members are supported by nearly 300,000 other like-minded parents and families in New York and millions nationwide.

But it’s what you may not know that really matters.

I am PTA. You are PTA. PTA is Inclusive. Diverse. Urban. Rural. Suburban. Parents. More than parents. Grandparents. Aunts and uncles. Males. Single parents. Married parents. Divorced parents. Military families. LGBTQ families. Students. Teachers. Educators. School-related professionals. Those with little time. Those with a lot of time. Working. Stay-at-home. Every nationality. Every profession. Every income level. Everyone.

Everyone is PTA. There is no mold for PTA, no stereotype, no one-size fits all. And THAT is what makes us unstoppable.

PTA is where ALL people come together, with ONE mission – to make a difference in a child’s life.

Often, it’s not even your own child. It’s a child in a different community. It’s a differently-abled child, or an immigrant child, or a child in poverty, or a homeless child. It’s a child who loves music class, but their classes have been cut. It’s a child who loves soccer, but there isn’t enough money for a team. It’s a child who loves to read, but their school doesn’t have a librarian. It’s a child who aced every single class. but can’t afford to go to college.

NYS PTA members fight for what’s right. We fight for adequate and equitable school aid. We fight for prevention and treatment of heroin and opioid abuse. We fight to ban e-cigarettes from our schools. We fight for adequate special education services. We fight for the safety of our children.

So when you ask yourself, what did I do today to make a child’s life better? I hope you answer, “I am PTA.”