Best of Both Worlds At Preschool & PDO Fundraiser

“It’s so great to be in a school that is so supported by the parents. I’ve been in a lot of different schools, but this is the most supportive.”

— Nina Burrows, Director of FUMC Day School

Brain research shows the importance of early childhood education. The Preschool and Parents’ Day Out (PDO) programs of FUMC Day School are here for children five days a week. Preschool provides excellent care for infants and toddlers, and enriching programming to make sure preschool kids are ready for kindergarten. Parents’ Day Out offers simple crafts, music, and age-appropriate play activities. “Young children are like sponges, and we must provide varied experiences, materials, and learning opportunities to take advantage of this window of opportunity,” says Nina Burrows, Director of FUMC Day School. “Rest assured that your child will be in a stimulating learning environment.” While loving care comes first, the school is dedicated to making children feel comfortable and secure. “We value each child, and will work hard to create a supportive social tone in each classroom and in the school,” Nina adds. “We make sure children are ready for kindergarten, wherever they may go, but we also make sure they love learning and love school.”

While the FUMC Preschool and PDO programs work hard for children, the parents work hard for our school. Beyond their day-to-day support, these parents host the annual Preschool & PDO Fundraiser that has enabled our school to do so much more thanks to the money raised each year.

This fundraiser started in 2003 as a luncheon and style show in Wesley Hall. Between running the event, getting themselves (and children) ready to model the latest fashions, and providing lunch, it took a lot of help for the parents to make it a success. Area businesses contributed, moms modeled, dads waited tables — so it was all hands on deck. It was successful from the get-go, and it only took a few years for the event to outgrow the space.

joe-t-garcias-2After the 2008 event, the parents proposed holding future fundraisers off-site at Joe T. Garcia’s. This was Nina’s first year as Director of FUMC Day School, and she says that what stood out to her is how much the fundraisers have been parent-run. “Parents have really been the ones to take the initiative and organize and run the whole thing,” Nina explains. “They’re all about improving it every year, and they put in an incredible amount of time and energy and effort.” The parents were confident that the move to Joe T.’s would raise more money — and they were right.

The proceeds from the 2008 auctions were used to install new safety features like electronic keypads and cameras at the main church entrances. In addition to safety, previous funds have been used for remodeling needs such as carpet and cabinets, new school curriculum and iPads, and much more. It took about $150,000 to renovate the outdoor playground, and the funds for it all came from past fundraisers. “Everything that’s above and beyond is due to the money that’s been raised from the auction,” Nina adds.

Let’s show our support for these great programs and parents at the 14th annual fundraiser. This year’s theme is “Desert Dreams,” and the patio at Joe T. Garcia’s will set the stage for an evening in the southwest. The silent auction, chaired by Melinda Blackerby, offers packages for kids and parents alike — from a semester of children’s activities and dress-up boxes to clothing gift cards and parent date nights. The live auction, chaired by Kristina Robertson, will take it to the next level with everything from an irresistible puppy to an unforgettable Colorado family vacation. To top it off, the proceeds from this year’s auctions will go toward an indoor play area for the school and church.

Nina says that what she likes about the fundraiser that she didn’t expect — an unforeseen benefit — is that it became a way to hang out and relax. As she describes it, “You go and feel like these are my co-parents and this is a good place and I’m a part of something good. It’s been a neat thing.” FUMCFW member and school parent Larkin McMillan is co-chairing the 2016 fundraiser together with Courtney Holt, another church member and school parent. Larkin agrees with Nina that the setting gives adults a chance to visit with one another in a different way. “It benefits the children and school, but it is also a fun night for parents to be together as part of a community and family and recognize friendships,” she points out. That’s one reason the parents decided to switch back to paper bidding — to encourage more one-on-one interaction with each other rather than focusing on electronic bidding through their phones.

That’s not the only thing that will stand out this year. To give you an inside look into what the money raised will benefit, we’ll watch a video about a day in the life of FUMC Day School. Plus, special artist renderings will take you behind the scenes for a glimpse of the new playground. “We’ll get to see more action, which I think will excite people to see what their money is going toward,” Larkin says.

The FUMC Preschool & PDO programs make a big difference for children, and so do the parents who support them. Take it from Nina: “It’s so great to be in a school that is so supported by the parents. I’ve been in a lot of different schools, but this is the most supportive.” Want to help give back with the best of both worlds? Join us at 6:00 pm on Thursday, April 14, for our annual Preschool & PDO fundraiser — an evening to connect with other parents while supporting our school and children.

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