Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tradition! Establishing traditions!

Today, each year at The Willows is jam-packed with fabulous school-wide events that unite the community to benefit the school or simply to celebrate each other and the community. 

"Our traditions are important," says Lisa Rosenstein.  "These are the moments when we can gather as a community to enjoy each other's company and celebrate our shared purpose of educating children."

Founder and former Board member Mark Solomon recalls how these traditions were established during the early years, "We knew we wanted to anchor the calendar with some events, but we wanted to be sure they would be meaningful to families and help them feel connected to each other."

The Willows Auction was one of those early first events.  "I remember at our first auction, we collected what we could, and we had all this stuff out there for bidding," recalls Mark.  "My son Jake, '01 had come to the auction, and about an hour into the event, (Founder and Board Member) Gary Yale taps me on the shoulder and tells me, 'You better go check inside -- your son has bid on every piece of art from every kid he knows!'  By the end of the night, we ended up with the funniest collection of art you've ever seen.  It cracked me up, but it also spoke to me.  Even in the 3rd Grade, my son loved The Willows -- and he loved the art that the other kids were doing enough that he wanted it in our house!"

Parent volunteers are at the very heart of The Willows' traditional events and have worked tirelessly over the years developing and producing these successful events. 

Kudos to the Willows Parent Association, whose efforts over the years have made these and many more events possible:

THE BOOK FAIR (coming up this year on December 6th) - established the first year to fund the library and provide curricular books for classroom use.

BIG SUNDAY, a city-wide day of service in which Willows families gather together to support the larger community through a variety of hands-on projects.

THE PIER EVENT (this year on May 6th),  a family FUNdraiser at The Santa Monica Pier.

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