How Volunteering Can Boost Your Personal Energy

Volunteering for a PTO project does not have to be something you wish you could do.  Here’s how I made it happen and how you can, too.

Find the Right Time For You to Volunteer

I looked at my calendar for the entire year and decided that I had the most amount of free time in September.  There are a few projects I’m working on this month.

First, I’m putting together our school student directory. This consists of a flyer I emailed the school secretary who then sent it home. In two weeks I’ll collect all these flyers, update last year’s directory with this year’s information and then send to a local printing company.  A week later I’ll pick up a box from the company and labels from the school of who will receive a directory.  My kids will put the labels on the directories while I organize them by classroom.  Then I’ll deliver the box to my child’s school.  Total time for the project will be about eight hours.

Find Projects that Play Well With Your Strengths

This year I took on a second project. The PTO president didn’t have anyone to manage the school’s float in the town parade. She said that our school may not be able to participate in the parade if they couldn’t find a volunteer.

Yes, I bit the bullet and raised my hand.

Now I’m creative. This kind of thing, like decorating a parade float… is my thing. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have volunteered. This work doesn’t feel like work to me (although it’s time-consuming) and I’m enjoying myself! I do feel a bit stressed about the parade this weekend, but I have so much help from my community.

Create a Community to Find Help and Create Excitement

I created a secret Facebook group, with the permission of my PTO president, and shared my PowerPoint sketches of the float to get people on board and excited. People came to our school’s annual Back to School BBQ on Friday night and helped create banners that will be on either side of the flatbed truck. I’ll share pics of the float next week!

Get to Know Your PTO Leaders

It took me a few years to get to know how my school’s PTO worked.  I got to know the PTO members personally and asked questions about their responsibilities.  I attended a few of the monthly PTO meetings.  If I missed one I’d ask around to see who went and what happened.  I stayed curious and never judged others because it is hard to find time to volunteer and we all do the best that we can.


By the end of the month, my major PTO responsibilities will be over. Then I’ll feel confident declining additional projects because I put my time in.  I may help out here and there, but I’ve laid the groundwork to help me create a personal boundary to say “No.”

When you take baby steps into volunteering it doesn’t feel overwhelming and confusing. There are ways you can contribute to the health of your school that fits who you are as a working parent. You will find your groove.


Do you get involved in your PTO? Have you attended a meeting? Leave a comment down below and share your volunteering strategies.



How Volunteering Can Energize You

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Liz McGrory

Liz is a work/life sway strategist helping stressed out working mom better manage their quadruple workload of self, family, home and career. You can also check her out on as their working mom expert and on The Maven Clinic as one of their career coaches.

2 thoughts on “How Volunteering Can Boost Your Personal Energy

  1. I have found a lot of different ways to volunteer in our school district. As you said, it’s about finding a spot for yourself where you’re comfortable & you enjoy it. I no longer volunteer for things I’m not excited about doing. I started & have run a candy & care package drive for our troops for the last 6 years. Doing that opened up other doors for me to volunteer within the district & help get other things lined up to benefit a local organization that I work with that supports our troops. This is my passion bc I have two veteran sons – one still serving & it gives my 11 yr old daughter the feeling of being involved & doing something to help. I found that our community is always on board with these projects so while this year, I have dedicated a LOT of time before school even started to get things going for some events at the high school – I’ve loved doing every second of it & have found it to be so rewarding to see how it all comes together. Doing these things has given me the opportunity to meet & connect with other people within our school district that I might not have otherwise. I’ve been in positions where I’ve needed one of those connections to help with something or to get information. I made a lot of friends by volunteering like this & I love it.

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