Gateway Families’ Association Update

img_1323Dear Gateway Community,

I hope you are having a wonderful fall so far!

I’d like to give you an update on your Gateway Families’ Association (GFA). Everyone in our Gateway community is a member, including you!

Our GFA’s primary goals are to build community through school-wide events and to serve as a means of communication for parents with the administration and the Board of Trustees. We also love to support our school and our staff as much as we can, and to that end we fund and staff all of the events we offer, and we organize staff gifts and treat days.

I wanted to share some news with you about why we decided not to hold Fall Festival this year. Last year we took a step back and re-assessed our mission, commitment and goals to Gateway. We heard back from parents that they were feeling a bit over-extended with volunteering efforts last year. It is our responsibility to listen to our GFA members and to do the best that we can to address requests and concerns. And because Fall Festival requires the most amount of volunteer time from families and staff, we decided that we needed to take a break from the event this year. Don’t worry, if you’d like to bring Fall Festival back, there is still a possibility for next year. If you are interested in chairing Fall Festival, or participating in other ways, please let me know. I’m happy to hear from you.

And now on to some really good news about our fundraising efforts from last year….

From last year’s GFA’s fundraising efforts, we were able to donate $1,000 to Life Lab to create a beautiful student-led Magical Monarch Butterfly garden! And that’s not all…we were also able to donate $800 towards this year’s Parent Education events (which will sometimes include an outside speaker). As you may know, the first parent education event this school year was Sherri Helvie’s presentation on RULER; the next one will be led by Resource Specialist Kris Broek on November 11th First Friday (the topic will be developmental norms in children ages 5-9, and how those needs influence children’s experiences both academic and social). There are more Parent Education events planned throughout the year and we hope you will be able to attend.

About half of the money raised by the GFA last year came from Scrip, and this year almost all of our budget will come from Scrip. Buying Scrip is a super easy way to support your GFA. It takes a minute to pick up New Leaf, Staff of Life, and Whole Foods cards from the office, and/or if you shop on Amazon, to sign up on Amazon Smile to support Gateway. Fast, easy, and almost zero time commitment.

You will be happy to know there are still lots of opportunities to volunteer with your GFA….

Because Volunteering makes us happy! By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.

Your wonderful room parent (also brought to you by your GFA) will keep you updated on volunteer opportunities for Staff Treat Days, GrandFriends’ Day, The Downtown Holiday Parade, The Auction Gala, The Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire, One World Day, The Art Tour, and The Staff Appreciation Lunch.

Those are just the upcoming events. I would like to extend a big thank you to the chairs of all the events we’ve organized so far this school year:

Joellen Pelz for organizing Preview Day
Suzanne Heinze and Joanna Eskilson for organizing the Welcome Back Coffee
Leigh Ann Lively and Joanna Eskilson for organizing the Back to School Potluck
Nancy Eskilson and Petra Bryan for organizing First Friday Coffees
Jen Ellis and Audrey Chavez for organizing parent education events
Paula Grainger and Michael Smith for hosting the New Family Reception
Claire Haiken for her role as GFA Scribe
Leigh Ann Lively for her role as GFA liaison with the Gateway Board
Joanna Eskilson for her role as Gateway Gear Coordinator
Karen Jensen for representing the GFA at the New Family Reception and organizing desserts, for organizing Scrip, for roles as GFA treasurer and room parent coordinator, and for organizing staff treat days.

If you would like to take a more active role in your GFA, we meet at the picnic tables the first Thursday of every month, and we would welcome your energy! Benefits include getting to know other Gateway parents, setting a good example for your kids, and an increase in happiness. And your happiness is guaranteed to increase, as many studies have demonstrated. When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Or if you don’t trust the London School of Economics, you can join us at the picnic tables and see for yourself.

With Gratitude,

Virginia Rodriguez
GFA President (Tara Cruden, ’20)