Volunteer of the Week: Leslie Malin, Patrick Hamilton Elementary PTO

Leslie Malin, of Dowagiac, is the co-owner of MTL Lawn Services and a longtime volunteer with the Parent Teacher Associations of several Dowagiac schools, including the Patrick Hamilton Elementary organization, which she currently leads as president.

Leslie Malin

Leslie Malin

 

How did you get involved with the PTO?

The first year my kids started school, that’s when I started volunteering; Pat Ham I’ve been at for eight years.

 

What was the first school you started at?

Lincoln. Then Justus Gage, then Sister Lakes, then Pat Ham.

 

How long have you been president of the Pat Ham PTO?

I’ve been president for four years.

 

What are the activities the PTO puts on every year?

We have the big fundraiser we hold every year, in the fall, just selling items. Then we use that money to pay for field trips [and] pay for teacher expenses in their room. We’ve put money toward the playground [and] toward the new sign out front. We’re involved in the Family Fun Night. We run the [PTO] Carnival — we sell tickets and give out prizes. We do cookies and punch for Grandparents Day.

We’re involved, some years more than others depending on volunteers, with Field Day, which is the last day of school. We run the Santa Workshop. We bought Halloween candy this year because we took the kids trick-or-treating after school, so we were involved with Halloween this year as well. All the money we make goes right back here [to the kids].

 

What keeps you so involved with the PTO?

Being part of the PTO gives you a relationship with the school. It gives you a connection with the staff, because you’re there, and it lets you give back to those kids who need it.

I love being involved. Building a relationship and giving back to the kids, that’s what it is all about for me.

 

Is there anything else that you volunteer with around the community?

The Miss Dowagiac stuff going on right now. My daughter [Brittany] is on the court, so we have to do stuff for that like float building this year.  My daughter is in choir as well, so I help out with driving for that when they have to go to events. The big one right now is Celebration Graduation.

 

How can someone get involved with the PTO?

Stop in the [school] office and say they want to get involved, and they’ll pass that information on. The staff at Pat Ham is very accommodating.

 

Is there anything you want to say to encourage others to volunteer with the PTO?

It’s all about the kids. You’re helping the kids, that’s the big thing right there. When the volunteering is done, it just fills your heart. The pleasure you receive from it, that’s what you get back.

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