Illinois PTA President Honored with Father of the Year Award

matthew=rodgriguezLast month, Illinois PTA President Matthew Rodriguez was recognized with an honorary “Father of the Year” award by the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative (IFI) at its 19th Anniversary Fatherhood Dinner Celebration.

The IFI is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster loving and caring father-figure relationships in the community and actively engage fathers in the education of children. Notable members of the IFI include President Barrack Obama, Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Each June, the IFI hosts the Fatherhood Dinner Celebration to honor prominent dads for being positive male role models for their own and all children in their community. Rodriguez was selected to receive the Father of the Year award by IFI CEO David Hirsch for his dedication to making a difference in the lives of all children.

This is not the first accolade Rodriguez has received. Last fall, he was honored with the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation’s (ILLCF) Service Award. Rodriguez was among four recipients chosen by the ILLCF Board to receive the award for his significant contributions to the Latino community in Illinois and his important work as the first Hispanic male president of Illinois PTA.

As president of Illinois PTA, Rodriguez has been committed to increasing male engagement in schools and communities. Research shows that some 24 million children—1.1 million in Illinois alone—are growing up today in homes without fathers, which adversely affects children, families and communities. Children who do not have a father or male figure in their lives look up to male role models in their schools. And when men are present in schools, student achievement increases and negative behavior decreases.

Among his other efforts, Rodriguez recently participated in the 21st Century Dads Honor Ride 2016, a cycling campaign to raise awareness and resources for fatherhood charities. The purpose of the ride is to highlight the importance of dads in their children’s lives, create greater awareness of the father absence crisis and raise necessary funds for fatherhood organizations to support ongoing efforts to combat fatherlessness. As part of the ride, participants visited police stations, fire stations and other locations in communities to honor dads and thank them for being present in their children’s lives.

Olivia Kimmel is the PR and social media intern at National PTA.


Summer Trends: What to Wear at the Reflections Celebration

What-to-Wear5Have you ever dreamed of living the life of a red carpet celebrity? Or are you just in need of a nice night out on the town? If so, and you’re a passionate PTA member or honored student, you are welcome to attend the National PTA Awards & Reflections Celebration.

At this year’s award’s celebration, all guests will be greeted by taking a walk on our red carpet, followed by a plated dinner and desert, as well as student performances and tributes to the winners of our Reflection Awards.

Held during the Think BIG! Think PTA… 2016 National Convention & Expo, there will be many opportunities for wining, dining and of course lots of selfies! To make sure you’re ready for an elegant night-out in Orlando, here are some trendy-yet-classic style tips for the summer of 2016.

Bold Prints

A major trend fashion followers are seeing this summer is big and bold prints. Bold prints make an exciting statement and nothing else says “I’m confident” quite like a lively floral print or a geometric pattern. Small floral prints are for the spring, so why not make a statement this summer with a bold print instead? Orlando’s night life and tropical climate will definitely welcome your beautifully bold fashion statement.


Photo Credit: Pinterest

Slip Dresses

Fashion statements are great, but comfort is also a necessity for successful night out. Free-flowing fabrics and light textures are ideal for the Florida heat, so thankfully a trend this summer is the slip dress. Play it up with eye-catching accessories, like a strappy shoe or a statement necklace.

Photo Credit: The Trend Spotter

Photo Credit: The Trend Spotter

White Trousers

To change up the routine of a dark or neutral suit, brighten up your choice of outfit with a white trouser. They can be dressed down for casual occasions or dressed up for occasions like our gala; overall a smart choice. Tommy Hilfiger, Dior Homme, Polo Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein’s 2016 summer collections are all displayed here, sporting the white trouser.


Photo Credit: Pinterest and Shutterstock

Fun Trends for Kids

A great way for kids to express their personality is through their style!  Allowing children to help pick out their outfit can let them express their creativity and have fun! Consider pairing formal and casual elements together, as well as colors, patterns and textures. This will be a highly photographed event, with some famous Disney stars attending, so make sure your kids are cool and confident.

Whatever you wear, let it express your personality and your flawless sense of style!  Don’t be afraid to try this summer’s formal trends and to reflect the beachy culture of Orlando. Everyone at National PTA hopes you are looking forward to this highly-anticipated event, and now you and your families’ outfits are sure to impress!

For more info about this year’s awards, visit Don’t forget to follow us on social media at #PTAcon16 to see behind-the-scenes pics and more!

Olivia Kimmel is the PR & Social Media Intern at National PTA.