I’m Never Washing My Black Sweater Again…

…Not since First Lady Michelle Obama patted my shoulder and said, “We love PTA!” at the Let’s Move! Active Schools event in Chicago last week. Her trademark enthusiasm was on display with an excited double-fist pump and I know that our partners, Kaiser Permanente and Safe Routes To Schools, were impressed!  I was so proud of the work we do I thought was going to burst.


The First Lady called on leaders to support schools’ efforts to ensure all kids get the physical activity they need to stay healthy and succeed in school. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

This was no small event – Nike was a lead corporate sponsor and Mrs. Obama wasn’t the only big name there. Program participants included Serena Williams, Olympic star Gabby Douglas, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, 49’ers QB Colin Kaepernick (yes, he and Mrs. Obama did the “bent arm bicep kiss”) and over 6,500 Chicago Public School students.

We all know what’s happening in Washington, but this event demonstrated that even in today’s environment not everything has to be political.  The entire event was electric; passion was everywhere. The kids, stars and First Lady all got into the program and Mrs. Obama even changed into workout gear to get active with the kids.  We engaged at a high level and focused on the commitment needed to do great things for kids.  From fighting childhood obesity to physical activity to healthy eating, we kept our eye on the ball and generated tons of publicity.

Here’s a fun takeway…never underestimate the power of our brand.  My PTA pin may be gold, but it acted more like a magnet! Throughout the day, I had people coming up to comment on how much they love PTA.

PTA is helping lead the way and with a champion like Mrs. Obama we’re on our way to helping kids have a healthier future.

Debra Strauss serves on the National PTA Board of Directors, and recently attend the Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative as PTA representative for Fire Up Your Feet – a recognized program of the Let’s Move Active Schools initiative. Fire Up Your Feet programming provides a full range of age-appropriate resources and educational materials to encourage physical activity to, from and at schools, with simple ways to track activity, earn awards, fundraise in a healthy way and stay motivated in a fun and friendly environment. To learn more about Fire Up Your Feet, visit FireUpYourFeet.org.