Like most parents, I got involved with the PTA soon after my first two children were enrolled in our local public elementary school, Jane S. Roberts K-8 Center in Miami. The more I volunteered with the PTA, the more PTA became a part of our family.
In the early 90’s, my wife and I were participating as scout leaders for our children. We helped my daughter’s girl scout troop lead a collection to purchase items needed for the operation and support of the local Ronald McDonald House. My son’s boy scout troop also did a drive to register people for organ donations.
Five months later, my youngest son was born. He had medical complications and needed a liver transplant. We traveled to Chicago when a liver became available and lived in a Ronald McDonald House during the process.
At that time, I also was the PTA president of the elementary school. PTA was an incredible support system during this difficult time, but also a source where we could advocate equal access and opportunity for all children.
It was then when I learned to be the voice for my son and so many other children like him. I learned to speak out for the diverse talents of each child and for the opportunity to access resources to ensure every child can achieve to his or her fullest potential.
Today, my son is a healthy 23-year-old adult who is partially blind, with cognitive disabilities. And I’ve remained active in PTA for over 20 years, traveling to Washington, DC several times a year to campaign for the best in education, health and safety of ALL children, as well as advocate for each child’s right to equal opportunities to achieve their dreams.
My experience has inspired me to be a regular donor to PTA, which by definition means “giver of gifts.” But it has been through my giving of time, talent and financial support that I have received so much. I’m always surprised to see how much more the PTA has given back to me, my family and all children. For that I am eternally grateful.
Will you join me as donor to National PTA on #GivingTuesday? Support the work of PTAs throughout the country with a donation.
Your gift will strengthen the programs and resources that PTAs rely on to ensure the highest quality education for every child. Please give as generously as you are able.
Enrique Escallon is a vice president at SunTrust Bank, Inc. in Miami, Fla. He is also a former member of the National PTA Board of Directors.