Mom active in Glen Lake PTO
The mother of three Glen Lake students, Newman has been actively involved in the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for the past 11 years. During this time she’s helped plan and organize various fundraisers and even spent time volunteering in the classroom as her kids progressed through elementary.
The volunteer work has allowed her to take on a more active role in her children’s lives and help shape the education they receive.
“I find it rewarding to take a little bit of time every week to try and make a difference,” the 48-year-old PTO treasurer said. “Sort of a bench play for all of the kids.”
Newman began volunteering with the PTO 11 years ago when her oldest daughter, Jordan Lynn, started kindergarten. Initially, she donated some of her time to the classroom, leading reading groups, correcting some homework and assisting any student that needed help.
She also got involved with many school-sponsored field trips. Two of her favorites were Glen Lake’s annual trips to Lansing and Chicago, where students get the opportunity to tour museums and historic architecture such as the Willis Tower and the Michigan State Capitol building.
“You get to be with them for the entire 24-hour time frame and seeing them interact with classmates is great,” Newman said.
Her volunteer time in the classroom didn’t last.
“My youngest is in middle school now and they don’t really want you hanging out in the classroom,” she said laughing. “I still wanted to volunteer, so I stayed with the PTO.”
The two major fundraisers Newman has been involved with are the school’s fall spell-a-thon and spring carnival. Together, the two events provide the majority of the PTO’s annual budget — all of which goes directly back into the school. In addition, they also provide funds that are used for the PTO’s two, $500 scholarships awarded to graduating students.
New ideas are always in the works as well, she said.
The newest fundraiser is a progressive card raffle, designed to raise a large amount of money for Glen Lake. In “Deal or No Deal” fashion, a deck of 52 playing cards are placed in envelopes and randomly numbered. Four participants are drawn each week and are given the opportunity to select one of the envelopes on display at the Hayloft Inn.
If the envelope contains the queen of hearts, the participant wins 50 percent of the money raised with the remainder going back into the school after minor expenses are covered. If the queen of hearts is not selected, new tickets are sold for the following week and the pot rolls over.
The first drawing takes place this Sunday with consecutive drawings happening every Sunday through Oct. 21. Tickets cost $5 each and can be purchased throughout the week at the Hayloft.
Newman’s also been involved in the organization of smaller events geared towards bringing the families of Glen Lake closer together. Among these events are a father/daughter dance and movie nights. Though these events don’t generate revenue for the PTO, they’re important in order to strengthen family bonds and keep parents involved in their child’s school-life.
“I think it’s important now, in today’s time and age, to be involved,” Newman said. “It’s one way to stay informed about what’s going on in your child’s life.
“Getting involved lets them know that you care.”
Originally from Cedar Springs, Newman moved to Long Lake with her husband Roger Peplinski, a graduate of Glen Lake.
Although they reside outside of the school district, Newman and her husband wanted their children to be a part of Glen Lake’s “small, family-like environment.”
“I like how the kids all interact and how (younger students) admire the high schoolers,” she said. “It’s a community; it’s different feeling.
“You really feel welcome, where at a larger school you’re just a number.”
Newman knows in order to keep the school this way, volunteers are a commodity. One day per week might not seem like much, but every little bit makes a big difference to the school.
“The school needs all of our help,” she said. “There are never enough volunteers.”
The easiest way for someone to get involved?
“Go to the monthly (PTO) meetings, cast your vote and voice your opinions,” she concluded.