Chrysler Brand and National PTA Collaborate to Support Schools with ‘Cars 4 Classrooms’ Program

(Sponsored Post) Chrysler minivans have been the go-to vehicle for families with school-aged children for more than 30 years.

Families have come to rely on the functionality and versatility offered by Chrysler minivans to transport children safely to and from school along with the available cargo space to haul bulky science projects, sports gear or fundraising items.

This relationship between Chrysler and schools in our communities is expanding after the brand became a Proud National Sponsor of National PTA last year.

Through this collaboration between Chrysler and National PTA, the brand will support local PTAs across the country in promoting family engagement in education and raising funds for their schools.

The brand’s efforts to support schools across the country will be showcased at every Cars 4 Classrooms fundraising event. PTAs and schools have an opportunity to set up test drive fundraising events through this initiative that feature the Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid to earn up to $3,000 for their school.

The featured vehicle for this program, the Chrysler Pacifica, represents the sixth generation of Chrysler minivan. The Pacifica is completely re-engineered from the ground up on an all-new platform and offers the first hybrid minivan to the segment. It also has more than 100 available safety and security features, the class-exclusive Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system, and an array of comfort and convenience technologies.

For every participant who takes a Pacifica for a brief test drive as part of this program, the brand will donate $10 to the school. PTAs can go to http://www.Cars4classrooms.comto learn more about hosting an event. Participating Chrysler franchised dealerships will work with PTAs to provide Chrysler Pacifica minivans for the event.

In addition to the test drive fundraiser, the Chrysler brand will support PTAs in encouraging families to visit their child’s school and get more involved in their education as part of National PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week Feb. 11-17, 2018.

Q Your School: Free Epinephrine Auto-Injectors for Public Elementary Schools

(Sponsored Post)

As parents and teachers, you know how important it is to create a healthy environment for children to learn, grow and thrive. At kaléo, where we put patients first, we feel the same way. However, approximately six million children in the U.S. live with life-threatening allergies, meaning that an encounter with a peanut in the lunchroom or a bee sting during recess could trigger anaphylaxis to those at risk.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can happen quickly and may cause death. Anaphylaxis can occur as a result of exposure to allergens including tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat, insect bites, latex and medication, among other allergens, depending on what the person is allergic to.

One study suggests that as many as one-fifth of school-aged food-allergic children have had at least 1 reaction in school within the past 2 years.1 It is crucial for school administrators, teachers, and nurses to be prepared for a potential allergic emergency.

A company founded by patients for patients, we focus on providing solutions for life-threatening medical conditions, including life-threatening allergies – a medical condition that affects our founders and their families as well. To help ensure that children living with this condition are treated during an anaphylaxis emergency that occurs in the school setting, we at kaléo have created a new charitable product donation program, “Q Your School,” offering U.S. public elementary schools AUVI-Q® (epinephrine injection, USP) Auto-injectors free of charge. AUVI-Q is a FDA-approved prescription medicine used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are at risk for or have a history of serious allergic reactions.

“Q Your School” provides up to four AUVI-Q cartons (each carton contains two epinephrine auto-injectors and a Trainer) per academic year, as well as access to educational materials on how to use AUVI-Q. There are no obligations, such as marketing or product exclusivity requirements, attached to the “Q Your School” program.

This program is an important step in helping to treat children with life-threatening allergies during an anaphylaxis emergency while they are at school. Our hope is that this program gives parents, teachers and school administrators access to epinephrine auto-injectors should an anaphylactic emergency occur in the school setting. AUVI-Q is not a substitute for emergency medical care.

To learn how to enroll your school in the “Q Your School” program, visit To learn more about AUVI-Q, please visit


AUVI-Q (epinephrine injection, USP) is a prescription medicine used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are at risk for or have a history of serious allergic reactions.

Important Safety Information

AUVI-Q is for immediate self (or caregiver) administration and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Seek immediate medical treatment after use. Each AUVI-Q contains a single dose of epinephrine. AUVI-Q should only be injected into your outer thigh, through clothing if necessary. If you inject a young child with AUVI-Q, hold their leg firmly in place before and during the injection to prevent injuries. Do not inject into veins, buttocks, fingers, toes, hands, or feet. If you accidentally inject AUVI-Q into any other part of your body, seek immediate medical treatment.

Rarely, patients who use AUVI-Q may develop infections at the injection site within a few days of an injection. Some of these infections can be serious. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms at an injection site: redness that does not go away, swelling, tenderness, or the area feels warm to the touch.

If you have certain medical conditions, or take certain medicines, your condition may get worse or you may have more or longer lasting side effects when you use AUVI-Q. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, especially medicines for asthma. Also tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, especially if you have asthma, a history of depression, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart problems or high blood pressure, have any other medical conditions, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Epinephrine should be used with caution if you have heart disease or are taking certain medicines that can cause heart-related (cardiac) symptoms.

Common side effects include fast, irregular or ‘pounding’ heartbeat, sweating, shakiness, headache, paleness, feelings of over excitement, nervousness, or anxiety, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, or breathing problems. These side effects usually go away quickly, especially if you rest. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Please click here to see the full Prescribing Information and the Patient Information at

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Spencer Williamson is the president and CEO of kaléo.

National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service.


  1. Nowak-Wegrzyn A, Conover-Walker MK, Wood RA. Food-Allergic Reactions in Schools and Preschools. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155(7):790-795. doi:10.1001/archpedi.155.7.790

National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service.

Celebrate the Holidays Safely

The kids are back to school and the holidays are around the corner. It’s an exciting time to gather with family and friends. Unfortunately, holiday festivities can present unique fire hazards. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more residential fires happen during the colder months than any other time of year, primarily caused by cooking, heating and electrical malfunctions.

Don’t let a fire ruin your holiday! Stay safe with these simple tips:

  1. Cook with Care

Remain in the kitchen when you’re cooking and keep pan lids close by so that if a fire starts in the pan you can quickly cover it with the lid and smother the flame. Remember to turn off the burners and the oven when you’re done.

  1. Pay Attention to Indoor Decorations

Be sure to test your lights and cords, and replace anything faulty. Hang indoor lights with clips instead of nails, and never use decorations inside that were intended for outdoor use only. Place Christmas trees or plants at least three feet away from heat sources, turn off decorative lights when not at home or sleeping, and remember to water live trees. Be careful to keep burning candles away from children, and remember to always extinguish them before leaving the room or going to sleep.

  1. Use Outdoor Light Displays Responsibly

When decorating outside, only use electrical decorations and cords manufactured for outdoor use. Keep them away from snow or standing water and avoid pinching them in doors or windows, which could damage their insulation.

  1. Don’t Forget Fire Starting Materials

Keep lighters, matches, etc. away from children. Make sure guests who smoke go outside and properly dispose of cigarette butts and ashes (e.g., dampening cigarette butts before throwing them in the trash.)

Exercise caution if you use a fireplace:

  • Have your chimney inspected prior to use.
  • Only burn dry firewood.
  • Never hang decorations in front of a working fireplace.

You are key to your family’s safety.

Although fire safety is serious, you can make it easy to talk about. Visit to learn more.


Information and links from this article are provided for your convenience only. Neither references to third parties nor the provision of any link imply an endorsement or association between The Hartford and the third party or non-Hartford site, respectively. The Hartford is not responsible for and makes no representation or warranty regarding the contents, completeness or accuracy or security of any material within this article or on such sites. Your use of information and access to such non-Hartford sites is at your own risk.

Preparing for a Hot Housing Market

(Sponsored Post)

Homes are flying off of the market—at least that’s the prediction for 2017. According to Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson, “We expect 2017 to break the 2016 record as the fastest market on record. Homes stayed on the market an average of 52 days before going under contract in 2016, the shortest time recorded since Redfin began keeping track in 2009.”

Record number of sales

The Salt Lake Board of Realtors® Housing Forecast 2017 report agrees; 2016 marked the highest level of homes sold in ten years. It also noted that the sale of multifamily units, such as condominiums, townhomes and twin homes set an all-time record.

Not enough inventory to meet demand

This record number of sales increases home prices, notes the report. “Utah’s rapid demographic growth has created what appears to be a housing shortage. For the first time in 40 years, the increase in households exceeds the number of new housing units. Consequently, all segments of the housing market report very strong demand and insufficient supply.”

Be prepared and move quickly

If you are one of the thousands of people wanting to buy a home this year, there are some important ways you can prepare yourself in a competitive environment:

  1. Select a reputable realtor who is familiar with your purchase area location. A professional realtor can often negotiate better pricing and inclusions, plus they help to keep your deal moving.
  2. Get pre-qualified with your lender of choice. A pre-qualification letter gives you more clout with buyers, especially if you get into a multiple offer situation.
  3. Choose a lender that can meet tight contract deadlines as timing can be everything in the current market. Many credit unions offer excellent rates and service on home loans. Mountain America Credit Union even offers an exclusive First-Time Homebuyer Program which helps members with as little as $1,000 down.
  4. Consider using Mountain America’s Quick CloseProgram to get the deal done faster. Quick Close is a secure electronic mortgage process that lets you to conveniently manage your closing documents from anywhere.

Follow these tips to make your home buying experience a positive one in this competitive market.

Mountain America Credit Union can be a big part of that positive experience—we have an amazing mortgage program including knowledgeable experts who can guide you through the entire process; a multitude of products with something for everyone’s financial situation; and a helpful staff that want nothing more than to answer your questions and get you the information you need for the life of your mortgage—and beyond!

For more information on mortgages or other financial questions, contact Mountain America Credit Union.

Bryan Packer is the AVP Public Relations at Mountain America Credit Union.

Mountain America Credit Union is a financial sponsor of National PTA and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.

Keeping Healthy Habits Top of Mind this Summer

Help Protect Your Children from Germs during the Summer Months with Healthy Habits

(Sponsored Post)

With summer vacation full steam ahead, help your children stay healthy and enjoy all that summer has to offer! Whether your family is soaking up the sun on the beach or running through the sprinklers at home, as part of the Healthy Habits Program, Lysol wants to spread the word on the importance of healthy habits by sharing easy and effective tips to help protect your children from spreading illness during the summer months. Some simple ways to do so include:

  • Wash Up: Getting sweaty and a bit dirty is inevitable for any summertime activity, so proper and frequent handwashing is a must! Use warm water and an adequate amount of soap to create a nice lather – scrubbing for at least 20 seconds!
  • Support Your School: To help protect your children from the spread of harmful germs during summer, purchase Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol Disinfectant Spray to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on hard surfaces in the home, while earning cash for your school! All Lysol products are eligible for Box Tops for Education redemption to help you support your school one clean surface at a time!
  • Bug Off: For time spent playing outside, it’s important for you to remind your children to wear insect repellent to prevent bug bites and diseases! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also encourages parents to check children and pets for ticks regularly![1]

Visit for more information and tips to help keep your family healthy.

Rory Tait is the Marketing Director at Lysol. He drives the Lysol Healthy Habits campaign, a program focused on educating parents across the country on the importance of healthy habits and good hygiene practices.

Box Tops for Education and associated words and designs are trademarks of General Mills, used under license. ©General Mills

[1] “Make Summer Safe for Kids” (May 23, 2016)

Summer Means Sun, Fun, and … The Smart Talk?

[Sponsored Post] As kids eagerly anticipate the start of summer break with relaxed schedules and no homework, parents face the decision whether or not to relax rules around screen time and digital devices. To deal with this transition from school to summer, one PTA dad has decided it’s time for his family to have ‘The Smart Talk’ … again.

When Alvin Gainey’s oldest daughter—who is now 16—started first grade, she got a cell phone.

“She was in aftercare and this was a way to communicate in the event of an emergency or if we were running late,” recalls Gainey. “Of course, back then people weren’t using their phones for everything like we do now. We basically just handed her the phone; we didn’t talk with her about digital safety or our family ground rules or screen time. I wasn’t worried one bit about her ‘digital life’ back then.”

Gainey admits he worries now. “Times have changed. Kids put everything online. And I mean, everything.”

As the Miami-Dade PTA Council President and highly involved dad of three school-age kids (his younger children are 9 and 11), Gainey jumped at the chance earlier this year to receive one of 20 grants awarded from National PTA and LifeLock to host a community event on digital parenting as an extension of Safer Internet Day.

The Miami event featured a digital safety expert who helped families better understand the many upsides of modern technology as well as the potential risks. A major focus of the event was on ‘The Smart Talk’ which is a free online tool created by National PTA and LifeLock that guides parents and kids together in an exercise that allows them to set customized technology ground rules for their household.

When Gainey completed The Smart Talk with his kids, he came to the startling realization that a lot of what he was doing in his own digital life maybe wasn’t so smart. “I am a big believer in practicing what I preach,” said Gainey. “All of a sudden we’re going through the prompts online in The Smart Talk, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh no, I have to change some of this for myself if I expect my daughter to change what she’s doing too.’ It was very, very eye-opening.”

He also acknowledged that The Smart Talk helped him and his wife tackle an “awkward” conversation with one of their children about some recent questionable online behavior. Gainey noted, “Even though The Smart Talk was primarily intended for parents giving younger kids a device for the first time, I definitely found it helpful with my kids who have had devices for a while. Like a reset button.”

With summer approaching, Gainey admits his household will relax some of the rules they previously established using The Smart Talk. “We have to do the whole exercise over again because some of our technology rules for the summer break are going to be different than what we have now for the school year. I guess we’ll have a summer Smart Talk!” he noted with a laugh.

In summer, Gainey’s kids “self-manage” their own time a lot more especially during the day and that often equates to more screen time with less oversight. Gainey plans to praise his kids for making good decisions like turning off their phone at the dinner table and encouraging a balance between device time and having fun in other ways. Since the kids will have more digital access during the day, he said they are likely to institute device-free hours in the evening which will be a major change from their original Smart Talk contract which allowed for devices in the evening.

When asked what advice Gainey has for other parents grappling with the transition from school to summer, he replied enthusiastically, “Honestly, have The Smart Talk as a family. Seriously. If you’ve had it before, have it again. The rules you set in September probably don’t make sense in June, and everything changes so rapidly with your kids and technology anyway that you can’t ever just set it and forget it.”

To have The Smart Talk with your household, visit

Pro Tip: Before gathering your kids to complete this exercise with you, consider reviewing the website and talking privately with your co-parent to make sure you are on the same page. This “pre-talk” helps ensure a smoother Smart Talk experience with your kids. 

LifeLock, a modern identity theft protection company, is a longstanding Proud National PTA Sponsor and co-creator with National PTA of The Smart Talk.

National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service. No endorsement of LifeLock is implied.

Fundraising for This Year and Next

(Sponsored Post) At this point in the school year, PTA groups often experience turnover with members moving on and new members coming on board.  It’s a time of transition that does not always go as smoothly as planned.  The last thing PTA groups want is their support of the school to pause as a result of such transition.  After all, the reason we get involved in PTA is to give back to the kids.

Whether or not your PTA group is in a time of transition, it can be difficult maintain your fundraising efforts from year to year to continually support new curriculum and programs.

One program that has found a way to help schools maintain their fundraising needs year after year is the Schwan’s Cares™ fundraising program.  The Schwan’s Cares program is an online fundraising program in which a group can easily share their campaign with PTA supporters and easily shop for groceries from Schwan’s Home Service, Inc for delicious foods they are likely already buying.  The digital element of this program allows for an easy transition amongst school groups to maintain a certain level of funding each year.

A Wisconsin school recognizes Schwan’s Cares as a solution to fundraising, As a middle school teacher, time is of the essence and the focus of middle school students is typically not on fundraising, which means that Schwan’s Cares fundraising is the perfect solution for our district.”

As the school year winds down, the focus of students and teachers is on finishing the school year strong and preparing for the next school year ahead.  However, we all know that funding is still needed at all points of the year to support programs.

“The Schwan’s Cares program is easy to set up and navigate for busy people.  Students are able to create their own personal accounts linked with mine.  They then have the opportunity to ask friends and family from all over the U.S. to support them.  The students love to see how much money they have earned each day as the sales are tracked.  Parents are excited that they do not need to pick-up or deliver orders for this fundraiser.  Schwan’s takes care of it all!” –Wisconsin Middle School

Whether you need to raise funds for the remainder of the school year or would like to get a jump start on next year, the ease of the Schwan’s Cares fundraising program could help provide a needed solution for your school.

To learn more about the Schwan’s Cares program – please visit

 Robb Kaufenberg is the Manager of Fundraising Operations for the Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. fundraising program Schwan’s Cares.

The Rewards of Spring: Fundraising

(Sponsored Post)  For many PTAs, Spring is a time of finishing the school year strong by continuing to support the school and its students so the students are well prepared for the next grade.  PTA plays such a critical role in that by helping to provide programs, curriculum and other opportunities that would not otherwise be available to many students.  With school budgets continuing to tighten across the country, the question is typically not “what programs should we provide our students”, but rather “how will we fund them?”

Schools earn funding from a number of sources throughout the year.  Once source that can make an even larger impact beyond the funding the school may expect is fundraising.  Now, you may be thinking to yourself “Our families are burnt out on fundraising and cannot support another one”.  This is where Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. can step in and help.

Back in 2012, Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. set out find an effective way to further give back to communities.  What they built is a cutting edge fundraising program call Schwan’s Cares that is revolutionizing the way schools raise funds and reinventing the perception volunteers have about fundraising.

A school in Illinois had this to say:

“The Schwan’s Cares™ fundraising program was a huge success for our school.  As a small-town school, it can often be difficult to raise money to keep the curriculum current.  Through the generosity of our school families and community, we were able to raise over $7700 this past year.  Schwan’s, along with other fundraisers, allowed us to purchase a new English/Language Arts curriculum for our students.”

The Schwan’s Cares program is an online fundraising program in which your PTA supporters shop from the over 300 delicious foods from Schwan’s Home Service, Inc with up to 40% of each purchase going back to the group.  Schwan’s takes fundraising a step further by also taking the orders, delivering the orders to each supporter and handling the cash.  The foundation this program was built on was to give back to communities by providing a seamless, effective program that eliminates the hassles associated with more traditional forms of fundraising. As a result, the Schwan’s Cares program has hosted over 14,000 campaigns and have helped give back over $11M to communities.

You know your PTA and school families better than anyone. If now is not the appropriate time to run a new fundraising campaign then there is no need to push it.  However, if your PTA or school could still use funding for end of year celebrations, additional program or curriculum – the Schwan’s Cares program might just be the perfect solution at this point in the year.

To learn more about the Schwan’s Cares program – please visit

Robb Kaufenberg is the Manager of Fundraising Operations for the Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. fundraising program Schwan’s Cares.



Unite for a Better Internet: Have the Smart Talk

Navigating life online

(Sponsored Post) My boys are nine and eleven-years-old. This means that we’ve had “the talk” — yes, that one about the “birds and the bees.” But in our fast-moving, digital world, where children are engaging more and more on social media, playing online games and reading news online, we need to have a different kind of talk — one that teaches them the rules of the road for navigating life online.

According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, 50% of children receive their first smartphone by age 11, and 74% have access to laptops and desktops as early as six-years-old. There’s no doubt technology is playing a huge role in our children’s development. It just doesn’t make sense to ignore this enormous part of their lives. Having open and ongoing conversations about online safety and responsibility is essential to the well-being and overall safety of children.

However, when I chat with other parents about having a digital safety talk with our kids, I get the sense they find it overwhelming because they don’t know what topics to cover. And that’s understandable. How can we possibly know how to approach talking about everything our kids see online when we didn’t grow up with the same devices, sites and apps they use today? Not to mention the fact that parents often tell me that they also feel pressured to buy their kids new devices that their peers and classmates are using, regardless of whether or not their kids are ready for that kind of responsibility.

Fortunately, there’s a free, online tool to help families navigate these issues and talk about digital safety. It’s called The Smart Talk. National PTA and LifeLock developed it for families who want their digitally savvy kids to learn and have fun through technology, but also make sure that they are building positive habits to stay safe and be responsible online. The Smart Talk gives families an opportunity to talk about the issues that can come up as kids use smartphones, social media and apps — while they’re still developing emotional intelligence skills.

Since the tool is online, you can have The Smart Talk as a family whenever it works best for you. After developing an agreement together, you can print a copy of the agreement, hang it where you’ll see it (like on your fridge) and revisit as needed.

I’ve had The Smart Talk with my each of my boys — and they even enjoyed it (at least more than they enjoyed having that other talk)!  We plan on regularly checking in on our digital safety agreements. When that happens, I’m sure they’ll teach me a new thing or two, and we’ll have to evolve our agreements accordingly.

Join me in partnering up with your kids as we try to make the internet better and safer — have The Smart Talk tonight.

Kim Allman is the Vice President of Government Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility at Lifelock.

A New Year for Family and School Health

(Sponsored Post) It’s a new year, and for many of us it’s a time to assess our health and resolve to shed a few pounds, add more fruits and vegetables to our diets, get more exercise and generally do what we can to make ourselves and our families healthier.

It’s also a good time to take stock of the health of your child’s school. After all, that’s where they spend most of their time outside of your home—nearly 1,200 hours each year. Start with a simple quiz to see what you know about your child’s school. Does the school:

  • Allow adequate time for kids to have recess?
  • Provide active indoor recess to ensure kids get physical activity during inclement weather?
  • Ask parents to bring healthy snacks instead of sweet treats for birthdays and celebrations?
  • Incorporate active games and non-food rewards as part of classroom celebrations?
  • Provide opportunities for physical activity during the school day, such as brain breaks in the classroom?
  • Adhere to Smart Snacks standards for school meals and foods sold in school?
  • Host healthy fundraisers involving nutritious foods or physical activity?

If you answered “no” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, don’t despair. Join your school’s or PTA’s wellness team and find out! Then pick an area where you can make a difference. Get inspired by others like Tara Fisher-Munoz, a parent in Austin, Texas who took her passion and expertise in gardening to form the Go Green Team PTA with other volunteers and start the school’s garden program. Or Dana Dougherty, a parent and substitute teacher in Arlington, Virginia, who worked with her PTA to set up the 2FIT2QUIT team, that organized 5Ks and family fitness fairs and secured pedal desks to keep kids active while learning.

These parents started with big ideas but small steps. They and many others will attest that once you get started, it’s hard to stop, because just one program can spur a culture of health at school. By getting involved in school wellness, you can also help reinforce those healthy habits your kids are learning at home – and likely learn something new for a healthier you, too.

Learn more about how to get involved in school health at and celebrate your school’s health and wellness during Every Kid Healthy Week.

Amy Moyer, MPH, RD, is the VP Field Operations with Action for Healthy Kids and mother of two girls.

Action for Healthy Kids is a National PTA sponsor and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA.