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Low-Cost Ways to Help Your Child’s School

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Last Updated on June 23, 2020 by Corinne Schmitt

Like a lot of moms, I want to know what happens at my children’s school and have a say in how our tax dollars are being spent. After all, my kids spend almost seven hours a day at school so what happens there impacts them significantly. I like to be in the know and let my kids and their teachers know I care what happens at school.

Ways to Be Involved

I get involved by:

    • Getting to know their teachers
    • Volunteering my time at the school
    • Participating in the PTA/PTO
    • Reading newsletters and checking the school website to keep up-to-date

Being involved at school has opened my eyes to how hard teachers and school staffs work to educate our children and keep them safe. Most of them have a genuine affection for the students and dedicate countless hours (beyond the scheduled “work day”) and their own money to ensure students have what they need to learn and prosper.

That is why I do my best to find ways to give back to the schools that provide so much for my children. Of course, I have four kids to feed, one of whom just started college, so I try to find inexpensive options that will go a long way. Here are my favorite low-cost ways to help your child’s school.

a collage of three kids and a teacher with title text reading Low Cost Ways to Support Your Child's School

What You Can Do

One thing I do every year is to stock up on extra school supplies during back-to-school sales so that during the year when classes start to run low, I can donate what is needed from our stockpile.

Volunteer your time in the office, library, or classroom. Teachers have very few opportunities during the day to complete tasks that are crucial to conducting their lesson plans (e.g. making photocopies of worksheets, punching die cut shapes, sorting books for reading groups) and often time don’t have assistants or specialists to come in and work with individual students who might need a little extra help with math or reading. There are dozens of opportunities throughout the school where just one hour of your time can make a big difference. Your school’s PTO or PTA is a great place to start, but don’t stop there if you don’t find the right opportunity. Check with the front office, the librarian, the elective teachers, the computer lab, the counseling office, and your child’s teacher. With so many different departments, there’s bound to be a place that’s a good fit for your interests and schedule.

If you have a special skill set or run a business you can create extracurricular activities to help enrich your school’s offerings. Do you love to sing? Volunteer to help the music teacher launch a singing group that kids can participate in after school. Do you run a martial arts studio? Partner with the PTA to offer classes at the school at a discounted rate or with a portion of the proceeds going to the school. If you own a business, you can offer your office or storefront as a possible field trip location.

Even if you work full time and don’t have a lot of extra time to spare, you can help by advocating for your school. You can write letters to your local editor to raise awareness about important issues, attend school board meetings to offer your opinion on school matters, or write to your congressman to push for legislation that helps schools.

One of my favorite ways to support our schools is to participate in the Box Tops for Education™ program. It’s a minimal time commitment since I just have to clip the Box Tops off of the packages before I recycle them. And, it literally costs me NOTHING since they are available on products I buy anyway for my family, but the benefit to the school is huge! Box Tops are worth $0.10 for the school. Last year my daughter’s school collected over $2000 from the Box Tops for Education™ program. At one of our prior schools, we earned over $3000 one year. The best part is, schools can use Box Tops cash to buy whatever they need so whether they need a new playground, more books for the library, or an updated computer lab, they can use the money however they want. With over 80,000 K-8 schools participating, chances are your school is already a part of the program so all you have to do is turn in your Box Tops at the school.

In addition to clipping Box Tops regularly, I also keep an eye out for Bonus Box Tops. On my recent shopping trip I found several on products that were already on my list. I got bonus Box Tops on our cereal,

Cheerios Box Tops

my daughter’s favorite after-school snack,

a girl holding a box of Granola Bars with Box Tops on them

GoGurts for the kids’ lunch boxes,

GoGurt with Box Tops on them

and Old El Paso tortillas for the wraps my teenager likes to pack for lunch.

Old El Paso Tortilla Box Tops

When it was all said and done, we scored 25 Box Tops on this quick run to the store.

Shopping Cart Full of products with Box Tops on them

These are some of the ways I contribute to my kids’ schools. I think it’s important to provide any support I can since they play a big part in how my children develop. By being active in the schools and showing my support, I not only get to see what is happening there, but I also get to make an impact. What are your favorite ways to support your children’s schools? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills®. The opinions and text are all mine.

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