Meredith Manak, Lakewood mom of 8-year-old Rachel, 5-year-old Remy and 3-year-old Roan, goes way back with the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA. How far? The group’s current president has been involved with the group since she was born.
“My mom was in the LECPTA when I was born and is still friends with many of the women she met while she was a member,” she says. “I am still friends with many of those kids I met through the LECPTA who are now parents themselves and current members of the LECPTA.”
The group, which boasts about 250 members, is celebrating its 57th anniversary and works year round to raise money for local schools. And when not doing good for the community, the group hosts fun events for moms and kids, from grownup mixers to fun field trips.
"In addition to our board meetings, we usually have one adult event and one kid’s event each month. For example, in October we will have a couples’ mixer at Bryan Street Tavern and a Kids Fall Round-Up at a local stable. Prospective members are encouraged to visit our Web site for more information and to become a member. Annual dues are $20, and you don’t have to live in Lakewood to become a member!
"The heart of who we are can be summarized by our passion to fundraise for our schools. We host several fundraising events, including our annual Lakewood Home Festival (set this year for Nov. 13-15). The festival, currently in its 33rd year, includes a home tour featuring six unique and spectacular homes in Lakewood, an auction party, market and café. In 2008, the home festival raised approximately $100,000, which went to Lakewood Elementary, J.L. Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School. Lastly, we organize playgroups and social clubs for members with similar interests.
"The LECPTA has approximately a dozen playgroups going on throughout the year. These playgroups sometimes start when the kids are babies and they continue throughout their childhood. It’s a great way to see moms and kids develop lifelong relationships. I still get together with my [now 8-year-old] daughter’s original LECPTA playgroup even though we are all currently scattered across different elementary schools.
"I grew up in Lakewood and consider this town my home. The thing I like the most about the LECPTA is that it facilitates Lakewood’s small-town feel. I’m constantly reminded that it takes a village to raise kids — and what a village Lakewood is!”