RFE in the USA

DSC03765Last Friday on October 11th my two youngest children took part in their elementary school’s Race For Education Walk-a-thon. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and the perfect afternoon to walk and goof off with their friends for an hour.

if you’re asking yourself what a Race For Education Walk-a-thon is, well grab a chair and a cup of coffee and let me explain.DSC03761 No, not that chair. That’s my chair. And why don’t you use that other coffee cup. Thanks. So anyways, a few years ago my wife had joined the PTO at Lincoln Elementary where our daughters and son went to school. As we all know a PTO is a parent/teacher organization that helps raise funds for those functions that allow our kids to learn and grow beyond what the school can provide. Field trips, school carnivals, athletic uniforms, concessions provided at sporting events…these are all the things that our PTO help out with, as well as a ton of other things I don’t have time in the day to mention. My wife, along with a handful of other dedicated Lincoln parents take time out of their already busy schedules and help out, or as we like to call it around here,”volunteer”. Each fall they have a fundraiser to help raise money for all the great things the PTO does for the school. You know the drill, cheese and sausage, all-natural peanut butter no one eats, wrapping paper, and the totally useless tub of frozen cookie dough that sits in your freezer till that relative you don’t like decides to drop by for their annual uncomfortable visit, “So Aunt Mary, would you like another cookie? How about some all-natural peanut butter to go with it?” That last door-to-door fundraiser wasn’t a stellar one. Money wasn’t turned in, product wasn’t delivered, and some unlucky soul never got their sausage log. So my wife and some of the other parents decided they needed to figure out a new fundraiser. Something where money wasn’t exchanged through parents to the school. And something where kids aren’t forced on the streets to sell sub-grade food products and lousy scented candles door-to-door like turn-of-the-century snake oil salesmen. Or Kirby salesmen. The PTO decided on a fundraising program called Race For Education. It works like this: envelopes are sent to Johnny and Jane’s friends, relatives, dentists, distant acquaintances and such and these folks are asked to donate to the child’s Race For Education Walk-a-thon. In return for their kind donation, on a set day the kids will walk for one hour. It’s like sponsoring someone for a Relay For Life race, except your helping a school send a kid to a museum they very well couldn’t go to in any other circumstance. Or you’re helping them get a brand new soccer uniform. For the kids part, besides having to walk for an hour, all they have to do is take an address sheet home to mom and dad, mom and mom, dad and dad, or dad or mom and fill out as many of those address sheets as they can. The sheets are returned and then those awesome PTO parents spend and exorbitant amount of time labeling, folding, taping, stamping, mailing…labeling, folding, taping, stamping, mailing, etc. Then, when the envelopes start returning those same awesome PTO ladies spend an exorbitant amout of time counting. Lots of counting. Just, you have no idea how much work these ladies do.

2013 was the third year for the Lincoln Elementary Walk-a-thon and it’s been an incredible success. As of last Friday they had raised $20,000 for the Lincoln Lions PTO. No awkward encounters at front doors, no uncomfortable purchases of less-than good food products, and no putting kids in danger to sell and get less than 50% profit. No company to pay a percentage to at all. The PTO owns the RFE. All that money goes to the school. I’m very proud of the work my wife has put into this to make sure our kids are taken care of and have the opportunities they deserve. And I’m proud of the Lincoln Lions PTO as a whole. In the four years my wife has been involved, I think this is the strongest group yet. They all work together and make sure the job is done. I’d say they’re the best PTO in the district. I think our PTO could take your PTO in a bare knuckle brawl any day of the week, fella. I guess you could say I’m biased.

Go ahead, I dare you.

Even this spider got in on the action…


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2 Replies to “RFE in the USA”

  1. The sales are awful awful awful. I couldn’t make my kids sell that stuff. I couldn’t bring myself to sell that stuff. The RFE sounds like a more satisfying fundraiser all around.


    1. It’s very satisfying. Plus, parents and grandparents can come out and walk with their kids and grandkids. It’s a great day. I look forward to it every year. The last one where we have a kid there will be rough.


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