February 17 is PTA Founders Day. Celebrating the 100+ year history of child advocacy by PTA leaders can be a fun and educational experience for your entire school. We’ll show you how.

Let’s start with a quick history lesson:

After just a few months of planning and advertising, Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst along with over 2000 others met in Washington D.C. on February 17, 1897 to attend the first convocation of the National Congress of Mothers. Their mission was to eliminate threats that endangered children. By 1917, more than 35 chartered state congresses had formed. In 1970, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (founded by Selena Sloan Butler) merged to form the current National Parent Teacher Association.

Here are 20 great celebration ideas to mark PTA Founders Day:

1. Display your PTA’s history proudly. Organize all of the memorabilia since the founding of your PTA and display it in the school or public library.

2. Prepare a brochure that outlines the major accomplishments of the National PTA, your state PTA and your local PTA. Circulate the brochure at PTA meetings, local government meetings, your public library and other local establishments in your community.

3. Celebrate your volunteers. Hold a volunteer recognition luncheon to honor those who make a difference in your PTA. This might be a good time to present an Honorary Life Membership from your state PTA or the National PTA to an exceptional volunteer.

4. Sponsor a speaker series for your community. Each February 17th, invite a locally known speaker to address a concern of your community regarding education and/or children. This can be an event you co sponsor with another organization. Be sure to advertise your event widely to your community.

5. Plan a Family Fun Night at your school. Whether it is Karaoke, movies, games, reading, or pizza, plan an event to bring together families in a fun way while recognizing the PTA Founders.

6. Sponsor a “Random Acts of Kindness Day” on February 17th. Organize your members to go out into the community and perform random acts of kindness, leaving behind a note about PTA Founders Day and your PTA.

7. Ask the students to create artwork in honor of your PTA. The artwork can then be displayed around the school, digitally archived, displayed at a public location or sent to the state or National PTA.

8. Record a song. It’s not that hard for a creative volunteer to rewrite the words to a popular song. The song would outline your PTA’s accomplishments and history. Then gather the “choir” and sing the song over the morning announcements at your school. Maybe even video tape it and see if you can make it go “viral”.

9. Set up a writing contest. Ask students to write an essay on “What PTA means to me”. The entries could be compiled into a booklet and distributed next year to each new PTA member. For the contest, ask the principal and librarian to select 3 winners and recognize the winners with a certificate and small prize from your PTA.

10. “Plant” a Founders Day Tree. With permission from your principal and school district, seek a qualified volunteer artist to paint a tree/mural in a prominent place in your school. Each year on February 17th, add the names of a few outstanding volunteers. You could also “sell” a leaf and paint the name of the donor on a leaf. Donations can be made to your PTA for a book for the library.

11. Ask your local newspaper to do a story on PTA Founders Day, recognizing the National, state and local PTA accomplishments and milestones.

12. Dedicate a special section of the public library to parenting topics. Work with the local librarian to establish a selected section of the library dedicated to parenting resources. Every February 17th, donate a few new books to that section.

13. Do a community or school grounds cleanup. Organize your members to do a special yearly clean up of a certain section of your community or school grounds. Be sure to advertise your good dead to the community and tie it to PTA Founders Day. You might even want to put out some yard signs acknowledging your PTA and Founders Day while you do the cleanup.

14. Donate and plant a tree. Every year, donate and plant a tree on school district grounds commemorating Founders Day and your PTA.

15. Pass out pencils with a PTA logo. Recognize the day by passing out a PTA pencil to each child in your school with a small paragraph about the PTA attached.

16. Create a daily “fun fact”. Research and write a daily fun fact about the PTA (National PTA, state PTA or your PTA). Read a new “fun fact” over the morning announcements for the entire month of February.

17. Set up a training session for your PTA leaders. Identify an area of improvement for your PTA and then organize a training session around that topic.

18. Honor your past leaders. Organize a reception to honor the past leaders of your PTA. Invite past leaders, school administrators and local leaders. Be sure to highlight the accomplishments of the past PTA leaders and outline your future plans.

19. Thank your current PTA leaders. Invite them to a reception or lunch. Have students and/or parents present them with handwritten thank-you cards or homemade gifts.

20. Most importantly: Pat yourself on the back for doing this hugely important work – advocating for our children.

Happy PTA Founders Day!!