Membership Committee Spotlight – Namiko Suga

你好! हैलो! Hola! Χαίρετε! Ciao! Alo! ہیلو! 안녕하세요! Hello!

My name is Namiko Suga and I’m your new Diversity Coordinator at NYS PTA. My committee covers Diversity, Inclusion, and Outreach and we’re a large group dedicated to advocating for diversity and inclusion in all its many forms. We have some exciting initiatives planned and we can’t wait for you to see them.

While there is a “new normal” for how PTAs will function this year, some things will never change; PTA will continue to advocate for children and families and further its mission on fulfilling every child’s potential. But as PTA meetings go virtual, how do you greet your new families at your first PTA meeting of the school year? What language is used on your outreach efforts: your flyers, email blasts, newsletters, or social media? Have you ever wondered how many households you were reaching in your school community?

Making sure your outreach reaches ALL families in your school by keeping them informed and encouraging engagement can only help to increase your membership. While diversity obviously covers more than cultural differences, a language barrier is usually the main obstacle when it comes to communicating with your current and potential membership.

But translation services are expensive, and free online translations, while helpful, can be laughably awful on a good day and downright offensive on a bad one. To that end, the NYS PTA now offers translation services for units, councils, and regions for their outreach materials. Need that flyer translated to Chinese? Or a membership newsletter translated to French? The best way would be to identify a volunteer at your unit for help – developing volunteers into leaders also strengthens diversity in your PTA! But if that’s not available, send your document to translation@nyspta.org for assistance.

It’s important to remember though – you won’t know that you need translation services if you don’t know the makeup of your student population. A diversity profile is an important step in recognizing underrepresented groups in your school. National PTA has a great diversity and inclusion worksheet to help you in general with thinking about the gaps in not only membership but also overall engagement. It’s a useful tool, to help you help your families and your students. And isn’t that what PTA is all about?

**Contest Alert**

If you can figure out all of the languages in the greeting above, please send an email to Namiko by September 22nd. You will be entered to win one of our fabulous membership magnets!