NCPTA Lobby Day Scheduled for March 14

The annual NCPTA Lobby Day is Tuesday, March 14th. This is a great opportunity to build legislative support for our schools and showcase PTAs across the state.

We’ll meet in the morning to attend committee hearings and set up individual meetings with legislators for afternoon visits. If you’re interested in participating, please RSVP below by February 20.

We will hold a Lobby Day training webinar on February 28 at 7 p.m. for lobby day participants in preparation for the March 14 Lobby Day.


Registration is closed. Please contact office@ncpta.org with questions.

Now Recruiting for the NCPTA Board of Directors

The NCPTA nominating committee is seeking passionate and energetic leaders committed to helping all children to serve on its Board of Directors.

If you are an individual with the drive to work with an inspiring and exciting group dedicated to the PTA mission and striving to make a significant difference in ensuring all children reach their full potential, please fill out our Online Interest Form by January 31.

online-interest-form-button

Connecting Your Students through Gratitude

Amy Kobos, Health and Wellness Promoter, Fayetteville

What makes our teachers great? Each one of us has a unique experience that has sculpted us into who we are. Some have had very challenging lives, while others have challenges that lie ahead. Our teachers realize this, and with skill and patience, they assist us in challenges and help us grow from them. What is this fuel which helps us progress through these obstacles? It could be a physical skill an instructor took the time to demonstrate that helped you learn how to take risks in life. It could be your 6th grade teacher who helped you understand a math skill so you could incorporate it into your adulthood. It could even be the parents who establish healthy boundaries in real life.

Gratitude is central to the holiday season and the New Year! What better time to encourage students to appreciate how teachers have helped them flourish in the classroom and beyond! Last month, we mentioned a gratitude activity in the “Rethink Your Holidays with 10 Healthy Tips,” article which focused on gratitude among classmates. This emphasized the uniqueness of what or who helps us get through the challenges in our lives. This also incorporated the value of interpersonal relationships, cultural diversity, and critical thinking into the classroom. Let’s take this a step further with your students so they can show gratitude for you!

Here are some ideas:

  • Make a gratitude jar for the teacher as a gift. Throughout the semester, each student could submit words of appreciation on how he/she has developed while in the classroom.
  • Integrate gratitude towards teachers in your students’ weekly journal entries.
  • Have the students collect and frame inspiring quotes that mean something them as a gift to the teacher.
  • Instead of students bringing in sweets to show appreciation, encourage the students and parents to put together healthier gifts, like fruit bouquets, yogurt parfaits, a pass to the local botanical gardens, or even gift card for a massage or Home Depot.

Gratitude isn’t just a tool we use for self-exploration and self-growth. Gratitude is a tool we use to connect. When students participate in activities like this, it helps them become aware of what facilitates their obstacles and progress. It develops a healthier state of mind by turning those “what ifs” into something more assuring, like “I’ll do fine no matter what.” Gratitude connects us to all of those little life events and people of which or whom we may have taken for granted. This forms a unique footprint which helps sculpt those bridges that we can utilize on whatever path we take.

Empowering Your Kids About Healthy Body Image Starts with YOU

By Amy Kobos, Health and Wellness Promotor, Fayetteville

This conversation is just as important as the birds and the bees.

You need to talk with your children and students about healthy body image. But, how can you talk to them if you aren’t sure what healthy body image is?  We have been flooded for decades with what we ‘think’ healthy body image is, only to religiously count calories, go on fad diets, exercise profusely and feel guilty for eating a dessert.  The media are saturated with focusing on weight loss and depicting skinny girls and boys – because this is what we should be.  We also give excuses for thinking it’s okay to skip meals: “I’m too busy to eat; I shouldn’t eat as much today because I ate a lot last night; I need to fit in those pants.”  This is the core of American culture’s perception of what healthy body image is.

To have this conversation, it needs to happen with you first.  Use these tools to facilitate exploration within yourself so you know how to convey this to your kids:

  • What is your definition of healthy body image?
  • Why do you feel America’s current perspective on healthy body image is how you have to be accepted in society?
  • What components are necessary in order to sustain healthy body image?
  • How do you prioritize your body to stay healthy?
  • Do you feel guilty or make excuses for your body’s needs? If so, why?

Each one of you is going to have different answers. This is okay!  Butyou need to sort out what’s healthy and what could be detrimental.
Read more.

Three Easy Ways to Make Time for YOU

Joelle Sevio RDH BS CPT is the former Health and Wellness Chair for the Wake County PTA Council and an ironman athlete and you can find more of her work at www.wellnessspecialist.net.

As parents, we make sure our kids are active, eat healthy foods, and don’t skip breakfast. So why don’t we hold ourselves to the same standards? Probably because our to-do lists are long: after work, kids, taking care of the house, and walking the dog, self-care is the thing that usually comes in last.

You’re thinking: yes, I know. As soon as we get through the holidays and January gets here I’ll do things differently. But what if you could get started NOW and start the year off feeling great?

It seems daunting, but like most major changes, taking it in steps is key. In my 15 plus years as a competitive athlete, as a mom, and working in the health and fitness industry, I have learned a strategy or two, and I’d like to share a few of them with you here. Your task is to implement ONE of these a week until they stick. Once you have a good handle on the first strategy, then move to the next.

1. Find the time for movement in your life. If your child has a sporting practice, use that time for physical activity and a digital detox. Use sidewalks or walk/run around their field where they are practicing (as long as you don’t embarrass them!) You may think 15-30 minutes isn’t enough but you will be surprised at the physical and psychological benefit you get from even a short amount of exertion. If you already have a good fitness base, don’t discount a short workout as opposed to no workout. Add intensity if you can’t go the distance. Other ideas include bike rides as a family, running while your child rides their bike or walking/running/riding your bike to the school to volunteer. If you are a working parent, use your lunchtime to fit a workout in.

My favorite way to hold yourself accountable is to make an appointment on your calendar.

2. Move towards a less-processed whole foods life. Look at what is in the food you are buying. If you have older kids, have then help you investigate the labels. How about this week switch out the chips and make baked potatoes? Buy one less processed item and one more item from the produce. Don’t feel guilty over the holidays when you have treats, because you are already making steps in the right direction. Focus on the fact that you are making progress! After all, you are on strategy #2 so that means you have conquered #1! It helps to have a mantra to repeat to yourself when you are in situations where you will tend to make food choices that aren’t the best. What will your mantra be?

3. Get your entire family involved in the kitchen. No one needs to be a gourmet cook. And let’s face it, what 3-6 year old doesn’t love cutting soft fruit with a dull spreading knife? If you have older kids, let them pick a night to cook or for you to cook together. Remember: think less processed and choose foods that grow from the Earth. Let’s get back to cooking and family time—family dinners should be a priority but most of us are over committed so you should feel like you have conquered #3 when family dinners are 2-3 times a week! I love using a crock pot or cooking in bulk. How about homemade pancakes for dinner and freeze some for breakfast on the weekend?

Change takes time and effort but since you are reading this, I know you are ready to get started on strategy #1. I have added a nutrient dense delicious recipe to help you start your journey. This is a great one for kids to make on their own or with a little help if they are under 8.

Oatmeal Bites

1 cup Oatmeal (organic if possible; oatmeal is naturally gluten free for those with a gluten allergy, but many brands of oatmeal are processed at facilities with gluten, so read the label)
½ cup nut butter (I like cashew for the extra iron or try organic peanut butter)
⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
½ cup ground flax seed (organic if possible)
¼-½ cup low sugar dark chocolate chips (55%or more chocolate for more nutrients)

Combine ingredients and mix together in a bowl. Roll mixture into bite size balls. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and enjoy! Store these in the refrigerator. These are great for lunches and for holiday parties without the guilt! These do have allergens including nut, so be mindful of what is safe for your family and what is allowed at your school!

Hurricanes Ticket Savings at NCPTA Night

Hurricanes tickets make great Holiday Gifts!

The North Carolina PTA has teamed up with the Carolina Hurricanes to bring you a special opportunity. Get in on the action and take advantage of big savings on tickets for this special game night!

hurricanesflyer_011417Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders
Saturday, January 14, 2017
7 p.m.
PNC Arena
Raleigh, NC

A portion of every ticket purchased through this special offer also benefits NCPTA Programs.

Purchase Tickets Today!

www.carolinahurricanes.com/ncpta

NCPTA Selects Reflections Theme Search Winners

National PTA Reflections sponsors a student-focused Theme Search Contest annually to determine a future program theme.

NCPTA proudly announces the following state-level winners for the Reflections 2018-2019 Theme Search:

“If Only I Could…”
Eric Cai, Polo Ridge Elementary PTA, Charlotte

“What is your purpose”
Charitha Kamuni, Alston Ridge Elementary PTA, Cary

“Make your mark”
Konstantina Kortesis, Southeast Middle PTSA, Kernersville

“The Great Escape”
Sherry Liu, Jay M. Robinson Middle PTA, Charlotte

“MY INNER REFLECTION…”
Viraj Singh, Barringer Academic Center PTA, Charlotte

Learn more about the Reflections Art Program.

Local PTAs Make the Honor Roll

We applaud the PTAs who sent in dues by Nov. 15 and had total number of members equal to or greater than last year’s membership. Honor Roll PTAs are on track to meet their goals, and they are doing their part to help children in North Carolina reach their potential!

See the 2016-17 Honor Roll list.

100 Years of Advocating for Healthy Kids

Weant_Marianne_smallMarianne Weant
Director of Health Programs, North Carolina PTA

When we talked about featuring our advocacy priorities, this was the week I was looking forward to. When we’re talking about the health of children and advocacy, we’re talking about our shared history and we’ve come a long way.

The Past
PTA in North Carolina is nearly 100 years old, and I marvel at what we—what you—have accomplished in those years. 100 years ago, children often didn’t go to school. Children worked. They were breadwinners in their homes and workers in dangerous places in their communities. The earliest vaccinations were in their infancies. School meal programs were just being developed in urban areas in the north. When children were in school, they were in racially segregated schools. When I think about what moms faced on behalf of their child and every child just 100 years ago, I think of how far we’ve come together.

The Present
Today, we’d all agree that in so many ways, our children are safer and healthier. They’re in schools instead of in mills. But we still have a long way to go. We have new threats to our kids. Instead of adolescents in mills, we have adolescents struggling with technology and bullying. Substance abuse. Lack of physical activity and obesity. And still a full quarter of our children in North Carolina are food insecure. We still have a long way to go together.
Read more.

Rethink Your Holidays with 10 Healthy Tips

By Amy Kobos, Health and Wellness Promotor, Fayetteville

When thinking about how to make your holidays healthier, nutrition and physical activity seem to be the focus.  But, your health is more than that.  You need to include other wellness dimensions, like mental health, interpersonal relationships, choice and critical thinking.  I know you’ve seen inspirational lists all over the internet which can be inspiring, but how many of these health tips do you actually practice? You can’t create behavioral change if you can’t explore the reasons why you aren’t implementing a healthier lifestyle, period.

Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays particularly make us vulnerable to slip out of any health plans we have made for ourselves and our families throughout the year. You need to begin by asking yourself what’s going on in YOUR life that affects you and your family from making health a top priority around the holidays. Is it time? Is it money? Are you consumed by “normal” American society standards?  Are you afraid of getting out of your comfort zone? Do you feel guilty for taking care of yourself?

Tip 1:  Rethink Black Friday.

Black Friday is the hallmark of American consumerism.  Many companies even exercise Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day. Is it fair for employees to subject themselves to companies versus spending time with their families? Is it really necessary for you compete with others for the latest toy?  How does this define the importance of what the holidays are really supposed to be about?  Have this discussion with your kids. Did you know that the outdoor sports company, REI, is closed on Black Friday? They encourage the public to #optoutside in order to exercise what Mother Nature has to offer.

Tip 2:  Have Your Kids Make a Christmas List with Non-material Items.

Nearly 100% of kids’ Christmas lists comprise of material items.  What if you redefined “Christmas gifts”?  How would you and the kids prioritize life differently if only 20% of the Christmas list was material items?
Read more.