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You've been "action alerted" what's next?


How often do you go to the Mom Congress blogs, or other websites, or admit it, play an online game (yes, we know it's "educational") with your children? I have so many friends that email me at 2:30 am it's crazy! While I'm sleeping they are up finding some lost sheep on some fictional farm and letting me know about it when I go to my computer at 8 or 9 am. I also notice that for all the comments my friends make about not having enough time in the day to do everything on their "honey do" list, they often have an incredible amount of time for the computer. In fact, texting, twittering, or posting a status update on facebook is a faster and more efficient form of connection to the "real" world than actually calling or emailing or even visiting all of our friends and acquaintances. And that's okay. Because being connected is part of participating in that parent engagement partnership I've been talking about.

For many of us who are PTA members, we receive what is known as an "Action Alert" email or a reminder on our social networking sites. An action alert is a notice of pending federal legislation such as the current S. 3307 (which is entitled 'The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act' which takes many critical steps toward alleviating child hunger and furthermore supporting the health and wellness of our nation's children). When you receive an action alert you will follow a link to the National PTA website where by simply filling in your zip code the site will find to whom your action needs to be sent. Type in a few key details and hit send. It's that simple. And it takes less than two minutes to do.

You've just let your elected leaders know where you stand on a critical issue. So while you are in the middle of finding a home for that little lost sheep, you can stop, open a new tab on your computer, go to the National PTA website and find the Speak Up/PTA page. Do your quick typing and then close tab and return to finding that home for that sheep. Trust me, he still needs a home. No one else is up at 2:30 am to house that sheep. Here is the best part. You just participated in a PEP talk without even getting out of your pajamas. You made a difference in the life of a child, in your community, and you didn't need to dress in a suit and carry a briefcase to DC to do it.

Two minutes = a lifetime of difference. Send more than one action alert. Be bold and when it is a reasonable hour of the day, pick up the phone and call the elected official you just emailed. Be even bolder, and go to a PTA advocacy training event. Trust me, your State PTAs are planning those and preparing their own action alerts as you read this. Attend a school board meeting. They usually meet every two weeks and notices are posted in the local paper. You can call your school district and ask to see what is on the agenda. It might be something you want to learn more about. Learn what decisions are being made on a local level that will impact your child's education. That piece of legislation about Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids, it will impact your State and your school district. Be proactive, not reactive when it comes to critical decisions.

If you aren't PTA, that's okay too. That action alert is for everyone. It has been researched with due diligence and is a reliable and trustworthy source of information. And it needs to be passed along. Once you take action, email your friends and let them know. Trust me, they'd much rather send an email about helping improve child nutrition opportunities in this nation then find a home for that lost sheep. And think how excited they will be to learn that they can send that email at 2:30 am. Why? Because no doubt they've just sent you a "piece of flair" and in their pajamas too.