|Left: The first board of managers at the first national convention in Washington, DC.
Right: Outstanding advocates named at the 2012 Legislative Conference in Washington DC. Image courtesy of Lifetouch.
When was the last time you really thought about the existence of child labor laws, juvenile courts, or the availability of hot lunches in school?
Chances are these issues aren’t at the forefront of your mind. Over the past century, these subjects have become an indelible part of our society, so much so that we rarely think about what life would be like if they weren’t around. All of these landmark policies for children share a common origin; like most efforts related to kids, they started with a parent or group of parents who had the courage and motivation to demand better for their children.
It’s advocacy and it’s what PTA is all about.
Advocacy has been the cornerstone of PTA’s mission since our founding in 1897, during a time when, for many families, an education for children was simply out of reach. Today, advocacy remains at every level of PTA, culminating each year at the PTA Legislative Conference where National PTA recognizes outstanding advocates from across the country.
When you think about being a champion for change, keep in mind that no effort is too small or too big to be considered advocacy. Advocacy is often a gradual process; when PTA members began their push for child labor laws, the change didn’t happen overnight. With advocacy, being successful on a year-to-year basis does not always mean that your ultimate goal is met. Advocacy takes patience, a consistent effort, and building blocks toward your goal.
As you think about the past year and what you are most proud of as a member of your PTA, consider filling out a nomination form for the 2013 Advocacy Awards for an outstanding advocate in your PTA. State and local award winners will receive a complimentary trip to the National PTA Legislative Conference and a cash prize to help further advocacy efforts. Individual winners (Shirley Igo and Youth Advocate) will receive complimentary travel and registration to the conference.
If you’re interested in more information, please visit the 2013 Advocacy Awards page on the PTA website.
Nominations are due December 5, 2012. PTA Advocacy Awards are recognized in the following categories: Individual (Shirley Igo); Local/District/Regional; State; and Youth.
Mollie Van Lieu is an Advocacy Specialist at National PTA in Alexandria, Virginia. Contact Mollie at email@example.com.