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PTA Focuses on Special Education Students

Group on the third Thursday of every month at Cedar Grove Elementary

In our regular look at local volunteer groups in Toms River, we're looking at the Toms River Special Education Parent Teacher Association, a PTA who meets regularly to discuss and hold events for the special education students of the Toms River Regional School District.

Here is more about TRSEPTA, as discussed by volunteer Ashley Gawlik.

How long have you volunteered there for? This is my second year working with SEPTA.

Describe a typical day as a volunteer for the organization. What sort of activities do you do?    

In order to provide a higher quality education for students with special needs, we host meetings to address issues, organize fundraisers to purchase assistive tools and technology, host relevant guest speakers and allow parents the opportunity to get actively involved in their child's education. While these meetings are being held for the parents, we have volunteers host different activities for the kids. We have a variety of activities including arts and crafts and games.

What motivates you to be a volunteer for this group?    

I recently graduated from Georgian Court University with a degree in Art and Special education.  Through my career as a student, I quickly learned that while there may not be many job openings within the local school districts, there is still a great need for personnel.  I wanted to use my education to make a positive difference in the local community.  It was then that I contacted Patricia Donaghue, the President of SEPTA, to find out how I could get involved.    

Describe an anecdote about an experience you had volunteering.
The kids we work with are incredibly creative and they have the wildest imaginations.  After doing face painting on a few of the kids, they flipped the script and asked if they could do a painting on my face.  I couldn't say no! When the parents were done with their meeting and came to pick up their kids, I greeted them with a rainbow face!  

Why should others consider volunteering for this group?   All students have the ability to learn and it is important that students with special needs have the tools necessary to get the best education possible.  Advocating for a child's education is one of the best gifts you can give.  

Group Contact info and meeting times:   We meet on the third Thursday of every month at Cedar Grove Elementary School in Toms River. Email:  septa@trschools.com 

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